POSTAL workers are threatening to stop funding the Labour Party if the Government goes ahead with plans to part-privatise Royal Mail.
Huddersfield postal staff are among thousands across the UK campaigning against the threatened sell-off of up to 49% of Royal Mail to private firms.
The workers, members of the CWU communications union have already handed out thousands of campaign postcards to Huddersfield shoppers while officials from the CWU’s Bradford and District branch, which includes Huddersfield, were lobbying MPs at Westminster yesterday .
The CWU claimed part-privatisation was opposed by nine out of 10 members of the public and a similar proportion of Labour Party members.
A spokesman for the union said that if the Government pressed ahead with legislation to allow a partial sell-off, the CWU would ballot members on withdrawing affiliation to the Labour Party – with the loss of about £1m in funds to the party.
Branch secretary John Tracey said Labour MPS had gone “conveniently deaf” on the issue, so they could break their manifesto promise to support a “wholly publicly-owned and integrated Post Office”.
He said a CWU petition calling on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to reject any for of privatisation within Royal Mail gained the support of 90% of delegates to the Labour Party’s annual regional conference in Sheffield. There had also been backing from Labour’s MEPs.
Said Mr Tracey: “With so much support from the public and Labour Party members and activists, why are their concerns not being listened to by the Government?”
Postal Services Minister Pat McFadden said Royal Mail faced “huge problems” which threatened the universal postal service as well as postal workers’ pensions.
Royal Mail’s pension trustees had warned that there would be “devastating consequences” if more investment was not found.
If recommendations from last year’s Hooper report into reforming Royal Mail were not implemented – including the sell-off plan – the pension fund deficit would be “significantly larger” than the previously quoted figure of £5.9bn, the trustees claimed.