CWU “disappointed” with MPs

Union officials in the UK have expressed their disappointment in MPs who voted in favour of the Postal Services Bill. Following the reading of the Bill in the House of Commons last week, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said that “MPs have missed the opportunity to safeguard post offices and postal services by not backing key amendments”.

The Bill – which includes privatising up to 90% of Royal Mail, as well as separating Post Office Ltd from the business – was passed with a government majority of 81.

This is the first time that legislation to enable Royal Mail to benefit from private capital has been approved by MPs.

Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “We’re very disappointed that MPs didn’t take the opportunity to safeguard post offices in [the] parliamentary session. However, 6 MPs did recognise the importance of amending the Bill to safeguard post offices and voted against the government.

“MPs from all parties spoke in favour of amendments showing the breadth of concern across the House. We will continue to campaign for protection for postal services and post offices as the Postal Services Bill moves into the House of Lords.”

Speaking at the time of the reading, minister for postal affairs, Edward Davey, praised the decision, stating that “it is good news for everyone who wants to see a successful Royal Mail and Post Office network.” However, his views weren’t shared by CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward.

Ward said that the “vote strengthens the CWU’s determination to fight the government’s Bill”.

He added: “We’ll be protesting in Ed Davey’s constituency on 22 January, making our voice heard when it comes to the future of the postal industry.

“There are wide-reaching implications from this legislation. In its current form it threatens the ongoing modernisation of Royal Mail and will destabilise the progress made to date. It also threatens the jobs, terms and conditions of our members and we’ll do whatever it takes to defend against the damaging effects of privatisation.”

The Bill will be debated in the House of Lords for the first time on 25 January.

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