Royal Mail workers threaten to strike over privatisation

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More than 100,000 workers have threatened to strike over the way the Royal Mail sell-off was handled.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) says it is confident that their members will vote in favour of industrial action against the handling of the Royal Mail sell-off.

Concerns have been raised over the timing of the strike, with many worried that it could disrupt deliveries during the busy Christmas period.

The union has accused the government of creating a ‘deliberate scramble for shares’ and blamed the way the process was managed for encouraging private investors to cash in on their allocation early.

Dave Ward, Deputy General Secretary for CWU said: “The taxpayer has lost over £1 billion already in this bungled fire sale of a cherished national institution. Postal workers cannot trade their shares for three years and they are far more concerned about their jobs than the share price.

“We’re confident our members will return a yes vote in the ballot result for strike action, strengthening our position to secure a deal on protecting jobs, services and terms and conditions in the company.”

The Shares gained 15p when trading opened on the London Stock Exchange, making them almost 50% more valuable than the government’s original price tag. Valuation of the group rose from £3.3 billion to £4.9 billion on the first day of trading. Mr Ward argues that the increase is benefitting the wrong people and not postal workers.

He said: “The share price increase is making profits for wealthy private investors and faceless institutions – it’s not bringing any money into the Royal Mail. We will not accept people maximising individual profit on the back of minimising the value, terms and conditions of postal workers.”

Ballot papers have been sent to over 115,000 Royal Mail and Parcelforce workers. It is the first national strike ballot in the company since 2009.

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has been called to give fresh evidence to a committee of MPs over the management of the privatisation. The investment bank Lazard have also been called for questioning by the business select committee over the pricing of the shares and concerns that investors were allowed to buy in too cheaply.

 

A politicsandthat survey found that 46.15% of people think the Royal Mail should never have been sold, while 30.77% were happy with the sale but not with the share price. The original poll can be found here.

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