Socialist Worker

The great Royal Mail robbery - one year after rich snapped up shares

Issue No. 2424

Post workers at a gate meeting last year

Post workers at a gate meeting last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)

It is one year since Royal Mail shares began being snapped up by city fat cats.

The shares were massively undervalued. They were first floated at 330p and rose to a peak of 615p in January this year.

Rich shareholders made big money by buying and immediately selling their shares. 

However, unlike the traders who cashed in quickly, post workers who received shares cannot receive a penny for three to five years to avoid heavy taxation.

Royal Mail boss Moya Greene is one of those enjoying a big payout. She received over £1 million in pay, bonuses and pension contributions—50 times more than the average yearly pay of a post worker.

Greene was also given 65,880 bonus shares worth around £328,000. Post workers were set for a national strike against privatisation last year. But CWU union leaders called it off for talks with bosses.

The union reached an agreement that gave workers five years protection on pay and job security, and a 9 percent pay deal over three years. Some 95 percent of workers voted for the deal, on a 57 percent turnout.


But Royal Mail bosses can withdraw from the agreement in “exceptional circumstances”—such as if the union calls a national strike. 

It is up for review in 2019 and is effectively a no-strike deal until then.

Many workers expressed concern that the deal did not deal with widespread bullying and harassment by managers. And they feared that privatisation would only make matters worse.

One post worker told Socialist Worker, “The bullying from managers has not significantly increased from already high levels. 

“But the need to achieve budgetary efficiency savings, as faceless shareholders demand returns on their investment, will soon lead once again to a rise in pressure on workers.

“Workers in Peterborough staged an unofficial walkout in August this year over management harrassment. Many feel this is just the start.

“The period of calm is expected to end after the profitable period of Christmas is over,” said the post worker.

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Tue 7 Oct 2014, 17:06 BST
Issue No. 2424
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