Business minister Michael Fallon will this week finally unveil the £2.5bn privatisation of Royal Mail – scheduled for this autumn – as the postal union steps up its opposition to the sale.
Fallon is due to announce details of the stock market listing in a statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday, according to reports, giving members of the public the chance to buy shares in the postal giant.
It is also thought the Coalition has decided to give out shares to postal workers, rather than make them pay.
The Government has already appointed seven the investment banks, including Investec, Nomura, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Goldman Sachs, to handle the sell-off.
The move comes as the Communications Workers Union embarks on an open bus tour around London this week to brief journalists regarding its “Save Our Royal Mail” campaign, in an itinerary that will pass by the major banks involved in Royal Mail’s IPO, as well as the likes of regulator Ofcom, Royal Mail HQ and the Department for Business.
A recent ballot showed that 96% of postal workers oppose privatisation and the CWU maintains the Government’s case for the sell-off is “confused”.
With the company’s financial results improving – its most recent results show profits soared 1,200% from £12m to £144m – it has no need to raise external capital, says the union. It also claims that in looking for a sale this financial year, the Government is “rushing” to sell the company.
The CWU said: “The Government has framed the arguments for privatisation in such a way as to suggest that Royal Mail faces imminent danger and privatisation is the only answer. This is simply not the case. Not only are there credible alternatives to privatisation, but there is no crisis to solve.”
The union wants to see Royal Mail remain a public body but with access to private capital, with employees providing input into strategic policy development.
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