'Profits should benefit society as a whole'

Unite delegate Gary Sassoon-Hales seconds motion on renationalising Royal Mail

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Unite delegate and Royal Mail worker Gary Sassoon-Hales spoke passionately in support of a motion on bringing the Royal Mail back under public ownership at the Labour party conference on Monday (September 26).

The motion highlighted a disturbing revelation surrounding a possible takeover of Royal Mail by a foreign equity firm and noted that any so-called modernisation plans now being put forward by Royal Mail must not include a ‘levelling down’ of workers’ pay, conditions and services available to the public.

Calling on delegates to support the motion, Gary, who is also Unite chair of CMA, a Unite Royal Mail branch, said, “we have been told a great lie that privatisation is the great solver of problems”.

“The Royal Mail’s journey to privatisation began in 2013 and at the time it was said that the company was losing £1m a day,” he explained.  

But he pointed out that the “humble postage stamp bearing the image of the Queen” was 60p back then – and is now an astonishing 58 per cent higher at 95p. Gary highlighted how over the last 9 years, more than £1.7bn has gone to shareholders.

“Yet their rhetoric is still the same, £1m per day losses, mean cuts to terms and conditions,” he said. “Royal Mail had a management restructure in 2020 which saved 4 per cent of the total wage bill followed by another restructure this year. Royal Mail were part of our nations’ sovereign wealth fund, providing an income to be reinvested back into public services.”

Gary explained that to grow the economy, we need a system where workers are paid a fair wage and spend money on goods and services.

“Profits should benefit society as a whole rather than billionaire’s balance sheets,” he told conference.

Gary concluded, “The Labour Party must commit to renationalise companies such as Royal Mail and have the gumption to let the front bench support those workers on the picket line. We are the party of organised Labour — after all it is in our name.”    

By Hajera Blagg

Pic by Mark Thomas

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