There has been a lot of recent discussion in the press over the privatisation of our postal services, but the writing has been on the wall for many years. There have been three EU postal directives in 1997, 2002 and 2008. The fat cats of the EU have been eyeing up the lucrative EU postal market for years – the turnover is 1% of the total Community GDP – about 90 billion euros. The UK Postal Services Act 2011 allows private buyers to own up to 90% of the Royal Mail and is a direct result of these Directives.
The privatisation of public services is laid out in the EU Constitution Article 111-147 which says that a European framework will establish measures to achieve the ‘liberalisation of a specific service’. That provision is in the Lisbon Treaty and it forces governments to hand over public services to the private sector.
While the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has indeed been fighting hard against privatisation and hopes to put off investors by threatening and taking industrial action, their campaign is noticeable for making no reference to the part the EU has played in the attack on the Royal Mail. The union movement will remain on the back foot in defence of public services unless it understands where the attack comes from and that withdrawal is the only long term solution.