Photo: Elene Moiseeva/shutterstock.com
The Communication Workers Union is to ballot its members on strike action in response to the government’s proposed privatisation of the Royal Mail. As Workers went to press, ballot papers were due to be sent out on 27 September, with the result to be announced on 16 October.
Dave Ward, deputy general secretary, said the union didn’t want to see a mail service “where companies compete on poverty pay, few employment rights and poor services simply to maximise payouts to wealthy shareholders”. He said strikes were “inevitable” unless there was a binding agreement on protection for jobs and terms and conditions, regardless of who owns the company.
Tied up with the dispute is a failure to agree over this year’s pay increase. The CWU has already rejected a below-inflation offer linked to major changes in the pension scheme. The offer has been widely seen as part of the process of fattening up the Royal Mail to make it more attractive to buyers.
The government announced in early September that it intends to list the Royal Mail on the London Stock Exchange and sell a majority stake (though it has yet to reveal how much of its stake is for sale).
Shares will be offered to institutional investors and also to private individuals, with a minimum investment of £750. The government says the privatisation will allow Royal Mail to “access” private capital (in fact, it would be the exact opposite). The union points out that Royal Mail has plenty of its own, having made £403 million last year. ■