Patrick Harvie MSP has condemned the plans for the privatisation of the Royal Mail announced by Vince Cable today, lodging a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for MSPs to back the Communication Workers Union in their ballot on industrial action.*

In the 2011 election, the Glasgow MSP called for the Scottish Government to negotiate with the UK Government to buy out the Scottish operations of the Royal Mail to keep them in public ownership. Today’s plans for a share issue rather than the sale of the business mean that this option no longer exists.

Patrick Harvie said:

“Any illusion that Vince Cable is somehow a force of moderation in this neo-liberal Coalition must surely end as he signs off the privatisation of a vital and historic public service. This ideological obsession, shared with Labour and the Tories, threatens the universal and affordable provision of postal services across Scotland. A Royal Mail largely owned by hedge funds and big investors will see this service as nothing but a commercial operation, and will neglect the crucial role that postal services play in our society.

“I welcome the CWU’s ballot on strike action. Postal workers understand how unpopular this privatisation is with the public and industrial action will be an important tool to defend this service.”

*Text of the Green motion as follows:

That the Parliament condemns Vince Cable and the UK Government for their determination to privatise the Royal Mail; considers that the Royal Mail is a vital public service and must not be turned into a plaything for private investors; welcomes the commitment by the Communication Workers Union to ballot for strike action at the end of July; considers that industrial action will be an essential tool in defending the Royal Mail from sell-off, and will therefore give full support to such action in defence of the Royal Mail.