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Key targets of Royal Mail sabotaged before privatisation to attract private investors - UK trade unions

Republished from Cuts and price rises caused Mail failures of 23 Nov 2013 on the People's Daily Morning Star. More news about privatisation can be found from the Campaign for public Ownership (CPO), articles against privatisation here on candobetter.net, the Public Banking Institute, and Ellen Brown's Web of Debt, Citizensagainstsellingtelstra.net 1, ...

Job cuts and price increases in the lead-up to privatisation were the reason Royal Mail missed key performance targets earlier this year, postal union Unite claimed yesterday.
Postal regulator Ofcom said the recently privatised company missed a requirement to deliver 93 per cent of first-class letters the day after collection, reaching only 91.7 per cent.

Ofcom said Royal Mail was also required to meet a target of 91.5 per cent of next-day delivery for first-class post throughout Britain and not just in densely populated areas.

But it achieved this level in only 62 per cent of the required postcode areas in the year to March 2013.

"Ofcom is concerned about Royal Mail's failure to meet certain service targets," the regulator said, threatening fines if the company continued to deliver late.

Unite, which represents around 7,000 postal managers, said the failures were due to job reductions in the run-up to the firm's privatisation.

Unite Royal Mail officer Brian Scott called for a company-wide review into tackling the issue of staff reductions and overworking.

He said: "Royal Mail has been setting itself up for privatisation in the last year, making unnecessary job reductions and cutting corners to make it a more viable sell-off.

"Members working in delivery offices are under a huge amount of pressure and this continues with no obvious solution."

The Campaign for Public Ownership said it was not just job reductions that were part of the government's preparations for privatisation.

Stamp prices were also increased in the run-up "to turn the people against the company" and to pre-empt an inevitable price rise once investors gained control - which would have resulted in a public backlash.

Campaign director Neil Clark said the future was bleak for the service. He told the Star: "After the next general election the universal service will disappear or mail delivery will take on the heavily subsidised railway model."

A Royal Mail statement said: "We were disappointed that we didn't meet all of the regulatory quality-of-service targets we were required to last year."

Footnote[s]

1. Citizensagainstsellingtelstra.net is a historic web-site. Like 70% of the public telecommunication service provider's owners, it was opposed to its privatisation. The site has since been archived by the National Library of Australia's Pandora archival service as citizensagainstsellingtelstra.com. (Sadly the .com domain name has been stolen by a cyber-squatter, so it was necessary to register the .net domain name in order to re-publish it on the web. Candobetter.org, the previous domain name for this web-site, to which broken links may still be found, was also stolen by a cyber-squatter. So, it was necessary to register the domain name candobetter.net .)
Telstra, the publicly owned telecommunications utility, was privatised by Prime Minister John Howard in 2006. During the previous Federal elections of 2004, the issue of privatisation was intentionally avoided by John Howard and the Australian newsmedia. The vote for privatisation was only carried because Barnaby Joyce (aka 'Barnaby Rubble'), then a National Party Senator, against a promise he made during the 2004 elections, voted for privatisation.
Like every other privatistion that has occurred before and since, the privatisation of Telstra was carried out contrary to the expressed wishes of Australian voters. (One possible exception to this is the extensive privatisations carried out by the Victorian state government of Jeff Kennet after he was elected premier in 1992. How Jeff Kennet was able to get re-elected in 1996 with an increased majority, having implemented policies which have been rightly repudiated by Australian voters on every other occasion, should be the subject of further research.)
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