Royal Mail strike threat
8:00am Thursday 19th September 2013 in News
A POSTAL workers union has warned strike action is “likely” if Royal Mail is sold off to stock market investors and staff offered up to £2,000 in shares.
Mick Hargreaves, who is responsible for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) in Bolton, has reacted with anger to plans sell off the business.
The union leader, who represents 500 workers in Bolton and Bury, said action could be taken by members as early as next month.
He said: "My members are not in the slightest bit interested in shares, Royal Mail tried to implement a dummy share scheme a few years ago, and they ended up being practically worthless.
"What staff see as more important is job security, which will only happen if we can continue to provide a quality service to the public. The very sell off could seriously endanger this endeavour, as private investors will cherry pick the best bits of the delivery business, while leaving the non-profitable bits for the remaining Royal Mail staff to do."
The government says the sale is necessary in order to give Royal Mail the access to private capital it needs to grow and remain competitive.
Mr Hargreaves said the ballot timetable was currently being circulated among members with it likely to take place before the end of September.
He added: "While our union is in negotiation with management over issues including pay, job security and condition we would be asking members to give us the right to take industrail action if necessary. If there was to be a strike it would be within 28 days of the ballot result being known."
Bolton MPs also oppose the sale of Royal Mail.
Bolton South East MP Yasmin Quereshi said: "The government should not be selling a business which is making a £400m profit, instead it should allow it to flourish. It should not be sold off to plug a hole in the Treasury coffers."
Bolton West MP Julie Hilling added: "We intend to continue to campaign against this move. To sell off Royal Mail does not make business sense and the government is on the wrong track "Equally there is no guarantee that Royal Mail wont end up in the hands of a foreign company."
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