Royal Mail faces nationwide strike by 100,000 postal workers
Newly-privatised Royal Mail will today face the prospect of a national strike by more than 100,000 postal workers amid continuing controversy over the "scramble" to sell off the company.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has balloted around 115,000 of its members for industrial action over issues linked to the sell-off, including pay and pensions.
Officials are confident of a yes vote when the result is announced later today, which would threaten disruption to mail deliveries in the run up to the busy Christmas period.
The union, which will have to give seven days' notice of a walkout, has accused the Government of "deliberately creating a scramble" for shares, leading to many private investors cashing in their allocation at a big profit.
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As formal trading started on the London Stock Exchange yesterday shares gained 15p, or 3%, making them almost 50% more valuable than the Government's price tag last week.
In the first day of dealing for many of the 690,000 small investors who bought stock in the highest-profile privatisation for years, shares were up to 490p to value Royal Mail at £4.9 billion.
That compares with the 330p per share price they were sold for by the Government on Thursday, which valued the group at £3.3 billion.
The share surge sparked further anger about public assets being sold too cheaply.
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: "The Royal Mail share price has soared further, bringing more proof that the company was undervalued by the Government's City mates.
"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."