|Strike threat looms over Royal Mail flotation
Britain's government officially launched plans to privatize more than half of Royal Mail, saying an initial sale of shares in the state-run postal service would occur within weeks. But a threat of strikes looms.
Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union said 96 percent of Royal Mail staff oppose the sell-off, which "not even [Margaret] Thatcher dared do,’’ media reports said in London. Post workers have been promised a 10 percent stake in the company and unions are not pleased.
An initial public offering of Royal Mail is “expected to take place in the coming weeks,’’ a statement said.
Royal Mail is to list on the London Stock Exchange, while the coalition government said it would “retain flexibility around the size of the stake to be sold.’’
Royal Mail was expected to be Britain's biggest privatization since the 1980 sell-offs of former nationalized giants British Gas and British Telecom.
Media reports say the part sale of Royal Mail could be worth up to US$4.74 billion. The government previously said that it would take on Royal Mail's historic pension deficit.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said that the sale shows the government is “completing the third and final part of the reforms agreed by parliament two years ago.''—AFP/The Standard