Birmingham & Black Country

Royal Mail sell-off Birmingham protest held

About 250 people have joined a protest in Birmingham city centre against plans to privatise the Royal Mail.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the coalition government would not be opposed to foreign investors buying it to help tackle the pensions deficit.

A Royal Mail sell-off would lead to the erosion of a "six-day per week, one-price-goes-anywhere delivery", the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said.

It would lead to higher prices and further post office closures, it added.

Lee Barron, Midlands regional secretary for the CWU: "The plans to privatise the Royal Mail have no support from the public and we are demonstrating in Birmingham to send a clear message to politicians that Royal Mail is not for sale.

'Dire-pension'

"There is no mandate for this whatsoever and we will fight the plans all the way."

Billy Hayes, general secretary of the CWU, Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Erdington, and Dave Ward, deputy general secretary for the CWU turned out in support of the protest march from Victoria Square to Birmingham Town Hall on Saturday.

Mr Cable said he was acting on advice from an independent report which found the Royal Mail suffering from "falling mail volumes, low investment, inefficient processes and a dire pension position."

The report by Richard Hooper, a former deputy chairman of the communications regulator Ofcom, said the universal postal service could only be maintained by an injection of private sector money and expertise.

Mr Cable said the privatisation plans would not affect the Post Office network, which would remain in state ownership.

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