SOUTH Down MP Margaret Ritchie (MP) has spoken of the need to keep Royal Mail in the public sector and resist attempts to push through privatisation.
Ms Ritchie was speaking during a Communication Workers Union event at Stormont today. She said: “I was delighted to address today’s Communication Workers Union event and argue that plans for the privatisation of Royal Mail should be abandoned by the coalition government.
“The SDLP stand squarely behind the postal workers who do not want to see this privatisation take place and who fear that these changes will damage or destroy a much valued public service.
“I am worried about the added costs to Northern Ireland businesses and consumers if the universal service obligation and uniform pricing are withdrawn as a result of privatisation. This could negatively impact lower paid workers.
“Rural post services which are critical for isolated communities, the elderly and other rural services could be affected. The post office is often a vital life-line to people living in rural areas and privatisation risks watering down the quality of that service.
“I am deeply concerned that, despite assurances from the government, this is the beginning of the end for the six day a week universal flat price service. Once market pressures and the demands of private ownership take hold we are likely to see these long standing commitments eroded.
“I want absolute clarification that jobs will be protected and that whoever buys Royal Mail will be committed to providing services in rural areas. This sale must not lead to the spiralling consumer costs and reduced service provision that we have seen with previous privatisations.”