Privatising Royal Mail is like ‘selling off the family silver’, opposition MPs in the West Midlands said today.
It comes as hundreds of thousands of postal workers get ready for a ballot on strike action after the Government confirmed that it was pushing ahead with privatisation plans.
Union bosses have already labelled the plans ‘a betrayal of the British public’.
Government chiefs yesterday announced they were pressing ahead with the privatisation by selling shares, with Business Secretary Vince Cable insisting it would ‘secure a healthy future for the company’.
But some Labour MPs in the Black Country have voiced their concerns over the move.
Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, said: “I am opposed to this sale. It is appalling that Parliament has not been consulted. We are selling off the family silver to hedge funds and foreign nationals.”
Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden said: “The Labour government proposed a Bill which would have guaranteed that the Royal Mail stayed in the public sector. Sadly that Bill did not go through.”
He said most fears were centred around the loss of a universal service and said it could lead to the price of stamps rising.
Walsall North MP David Winnick said: “The Royal Mail should remain very much in the public sector. How long until various big businesses, and not necessarily in this country, get their hands on it?”
The Government says the move will help Royal Mail in the future. In an effort to win over workers, it has said 10 per cent of shares will go to Royal Mail’s workforce.
Members of the public will be able to buy a minimum of £750 of shares. It is expected the sell-off will rake in up to £3billion.
Following yesterday’s announcement, the Communication Workers’ Union confirmed it was holding a ballot over strike action.
Today, about 150,000 Royal Mail workers will start receiving details of the offer of free shares in the company under the Government’s privatisation plan.
Royal Mail Group’s chief executive officer Moya Greene said: “Our people are the heart of our business at Royal Mail. By owning 10 per cent of the company, together we will have a meaningful stake in the business.”