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Royal Mail staff get shares details
Some 150,000 Royal Mail workers are to start receiving details of the offer of free shares in the company under the Government's privatisation plan
Some 150,000 Royal Mail workers will start receiving details of the offer of free shares in the company under the Government's privatisation plan today.
The controversial sell-off has set ministers on a collision path with the unions, with the possibility of strike action just as potential investors are being courted to buy a stake in the business.
The free shares offer makes 10% of Royal Mail available to employees at the time of flotation, but the sweetener has failed to convert opponents to the scheme.
Information on the free scheme, together with details of a priority shares offer for staff wanting to buy a larger stake in the firm, will drop through the letterboxes of eligible workers from today.
Royal Mail Group's chief executive officer Moya Greene said: "Our people are the heart of our business at Royal Mail. By owning 10% of the company, together we will have a meaningful stake in the business.
"I think this will engage everyone and encourage us to continue to work together to build a great future for Royal Mail."
Ministers said the flotation would allow the business to modernise, but they were attacked by unions and opposition politicians, with claims that the Government was "selling off the family silver".
The scale of anger was highlighted by a noisy reception given to Ms Greene as she addressed a meeting in Birmingham of more than 1,500 local officials of the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
She was booed, heckled and greeted with laughter when she defended the sell-off.
The union will now press ahead with balloting its members for strike action in protest at issues linked to privatisation.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: "This isn't about what's best for the Royal Mail, it's about vested interests of Government ministers' mates in the City.
"Privatisation is the worst way to access to capital as it's more expensive than borrowing under public ownership."
Members of the public will be able to apply for shares - at a minimum of £750 - as well as institutional investors.
Analysts expect the sell-off will make up to £3 billion.
Shadow businesss secretary Chuka Umunna said: "Ministers are pushing ahead with this politically-motivated fire sale of Royal Mail to fill the hole left by George Osborne's failed plan.
"This is taking place despite opposition from a huge coalition including the Conservative Bow Group, the Countryside Alliance, the National Federation of Subpostmasters, the cross-party BIS Select Committee as well as Royal Mail employees themselves.
"The Government has not addressed the huge concerns which remain on the impact the Royal Mail sale will have on consumers, businesses and communities, but ministers are ploughing on regardless."
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "It is the final step to help modernise the business and allow it to invest in the future."
He said the Government was aiming for a majority sale so that Royal Mail could access capital markets like any other British business.
At least 50% of the business will be sold, although Mr Fallon would not give exact details of the size of the sale and would not estimate how much money will be raised.
He said there was "sufficient appetite" from investors to justify going ahead with the sell-off.
Asked about the prospect of a strike by postal workers, he said: "Strike action will not derail the sale.
"There is no need for strike action - a pay rise of 8.6% over three years has been offered. Teachers and nurses are only getting 1%."
Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey said: "This move is being driven by blinkered right-wing dogma that has ridden roughshod over public opinion which is strongly opposed to the sell-off of this national institution.
"We predict that the sell-off will lead to worse services for business and the general public, particularly in rural areas, as well as job losses, when private companies try to squeeze the last drop of profit out of the Royal Mail."
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I have seen first hand how poor the Canadian postal service operated and how expensive it was to send even the smallest package anywhere.
The Woman who was the brains behind that is now at the helm of the Royal Mail pulling the strings and the standards of service in the UK have already dropped and become expensive. Canada is a Massive country compared to the tiny UK so it is much more expensive to move mail around, the UK is a little country so it should be far far cheaper to deliver mail, it isnt and it will be even more expensive very soon.
The Uk streets are already a mess with horrible pram like things chained to lamposts everywhere so that sorting offices could be shut down to save money, the mail is sorted on the streets in some cases and is no longer secure.
The workers will lose jobs and everything will be done on the cheap to help to fund dividend hungry shareholders as usual. Privatisation in the UK does not work for the consumer it only works for the companies. Look at the state of the trains and the Gas and Electric and the telephones and the railways. Poor service, skeleton staff workforce on low pay and High prices to the consumer with 3rd rate investment back in to the business.
Lets hope that this theft is stopped and also that the NHS is kept safe, otherwise some of us that cannot afford expensive health insurance will have to rely on a Charity to help us should we or a family member fall ill or have an accident.
This government probably believes, with just cause, that it will not be re-elected and has chosen to do the Maggie Thatcher thing of selling off out prize assetts in order to feather their own nest even more than they are already feathered. What a bunch of sleaze bags. No matter what the electorate wish to blame Labour for, they have never sold the working man (and his job) down the river.
I thought "WE" owned the Royal Mail.
Must have been wrong.
I don't want to sell it!
privatise the Royal Mail what next the land we walk on.i don't agree with privatisation it gives people
the power to **** things up.
This will be by far the WORSE move to ever happen> It will cause disruption to already failing services cause unprecedented harm to business and public due to the failure to delivery services. Yet again another stupid move by this government what on earth are they thinking?
We cannot handle closed post offices across the country, the infirm especially will be hit not to mention the general public.
What this country needs is to take a stand and do something about it all, this country has been totally ruined I no longer even feel proud to be Briti**** total crap.