Hundreds of trade unionists, students and residents will take part in a demonstration in David Cameron’s constituency on Sunday to protest against plans to privatise the Royal Mail as well as the Government’s spending cuts.
The rally in Witney, Oxfordshire, will be staged just days before the Postal Services Bill receives its third reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union said: “Government cuts are really beginning to draw blood now as jobs and services suffer. The planned privatisation of Royal Mail is an unnecessary ideological move which will damage postal services forever.
“On Sunday hundreds of people, representing thousands of families, small businesses, pensioners, students and workers, will take the message of saving the Royal Mail to the Prime Minister’s constituency. Will he listen, or will he press ahead with the privatisation of Royal Mail and risk an increase in mail prices, a decrease in services, and mass post office closures?”
A 6ft coffin bearing the message “Here Lies the Remains of Royal Mail” will be held aloft at the protest, which is supported by several trade unions and other groups.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Royal Mail warmly supports the Postal Services Bill. It will play a key part in ensuring a successful future for the company and safeguard the one-price-goes-anywhere delivery service to the UK’s 28 million addresses.
“The Bill seeks to resolve Royal Mail’s historic £10.3 billion actuarial deficit. It will also allow Royal Mail access to capital for investment in its operations and seeks to deliver a new regulatory framework.”
Postal Affairs Minister Edward Davey said: “The Government’s plans are actually about protecting the long-term future of Royal Mail and the Post Office – two cornerstones of British life. Both businesses are facing some huge challenges and without the action we are proposing they could certainly be damaged.
“We have no intention of downgrading services. We have pledged that the Post Office will not be sold and that there will be no programme of closures. We have delivered a £1.34 billion package of new funding for the Post Office network, and we want to help Royal Mail access the substantial private sector investment it needs to modernise.
“Doing nothing is not an option – mail volumes are falling, Royal Mail has a multi billion pound pension deficit, less efficiency than its competitors and an urgent need for more money at a time when there are huge constraints on the public purse.”