UK postal workers have denounced plans to sell off part of the publicly-owned Royal Mail. Unions claim the move will mean job losses in a service which has been around for more than 350 years. The Communication Workers Union also accused the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson and Prime Minister Gordon Brown of threatening postal workers that their pensions will be in danger if they do not support privatisation. The government has stressed the seriousness of the Royal Mail’s seven billion euro pension fund deficit and has warned that services could be jeopardised if not modernised.
The Royal Mail needs hundreds of millions of euros worth of investment to modernise the system which has come under pressure from private courier services and the growth in electronic mail. But critics also fear that a part-privatisation could endanger a commitment to deliver mail at the same price to everyone, even in remote areas.