Royal Mail future in doubt

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Who cares if the Queen’s head disappears from postage stamps or if Bexhill’s remaining sub Post Offices are lost forever?

If you do, now’s the time to let MP Greg Barker find out, according to postal workers’ union rep Paul Plim.

He is urging residents to express their views on privatisation before the government votes in January on the future of the Royal Mail.

The third reading of the Postal Services Bill will soon take place, and Mr Plim wants the Bexhill MP to be fully aware of the consequences of voting for change – for instance that the service might be run by a private company under foreign ownership.

He and other CWU representatives met Mr Barker to discuss complaints by constituents about the level of service they currently experience.

The MP was told problems were caused by continued staff cuts which have had a “terrible effect” in Bexhill this year.

Mr Plim claimed this was “a direct result of Royal Mail’s headlong rush into a pre-privatisation rundown of the business”.

He told the Observer: “This really is the last stage. It is being pushed through at such breakneck speed that even the government is not fully aware of the implications - especially when you consider that there is no written confirmation that Royal Mail will have to use the Post Office network. That would mean a private company, possibly a foreign-owned one, would be free to use whatever network they want for their service.

“They could even turn round and say they are going to do a deal with Tesco.”

He said privatisation could mean the loss of many hundreds of Post Offices in Britain, and definitely raise the prospect of closure for Windmill Drive sub Post Office with possible repercussions for Sidley and Little Common.

Mr Plim added: “The national press has quite rightly found that the future of the usage of the monarch’s head on postage stamps has not been addressed – neither has the usage of the symbol of the crown, and the trademark “Royal” element of Royal Mail.

“The Mail On Sunday raised the prospect of German owners of a privatised Royal Mail having control of the Royal trademarks.

“The people of Bexhill and indeed the country need to realise that on January 12 (less than a month away) the third reading in Parliament takes place and our MP will vote to sell off Royal Mail.

“All those who would like to keep Royal Mail in public ownership operating a profitable organisation for the benefit of the people of this country need to write to Mr Barker as soon as possible and show their feelings on the subject.

“This Christmas may be the last Christmas to send cards to anywhere in the country for the fixed price we do today. It’s your Royal Mail – don’t let Mr Barker and his government colleagues sell our national asset off like a family jewel at a car boot sale.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

For further information go to the CWU website CWU.org.uk or contact him at the Royal Mail delivery office in Devonshire Square.