LETTER: Royal Mail: “Why we need to privatise”

Opinion
Opinion

In response to Observer: “Why do we need to sell off Royal Mail?” (17 July 2013), your readers may be interested to understand what the recent announcement by the Government on the privatisation of Royal Mail means for our customers, business and people.

The Government has acknowledged it is not a good owner of large businesses. Private ownership will enable Royal Mail to become more flexible and fleet of foot in the fiercely competitive markets in which we operate. We will also have long-term access to capital when we need it. The Government has made clear it doesn’t have the money to allocate to Royal Mail ahead of schools and hospitals.

We aim to combine the best of the public and private sectors. The six-day-a-week, one-price-goes-anywhere, affordable universal service will remain unchanged. It is protected by law – enshrined in the Postal Services Act 2011. Changes would have to be passed through both Houses of Parliament.

The quality of service regime that applies to Royal Mail under public ownership will continue to apply under private ownership. Ofcom has already specified the minimum standards under regulation. Royal Mail will continue to offer good value for money. UK stamp prices are among the best value in the EU.

Our people are at the heart of Royal Mail. The current position is that all terms and conditions that apply now to Royal Mail employees would remain in place, on the same basis, were the company to be sold.

For further reassurance, we will create a legally-binding and enforceable contract with the CWU. Pay and protections could not be changed for the period of the contract without CWU agreement About 150,000 UK employees will get free shares giving them a 10 per cent stake in the business.

Many previously Government-owned companies – like Rolls Royce and British Airways - have flourished under private ownership. We believe privatisation will equip Royal Mail for similar success.

Alec Pybus

Royal Mail delivery director, PE postcode area