UK union to take postal privatisation protest to London banks

LONDON Tue Jul 2, 2013 7:30pm BST

A man drinks from a can of Coke near a post box in London September 25, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

A man drinks from a can of Coke near a post box in London September 25, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Coombs

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LONDON (Reuters) - Trade unions opposing the privatisation of the British postal service will hold a protest next week at the London offices of the banks advising the government on the float.

Goldman Sachs and UBS, located in London's financial district, will be the focus of the protest, which forms the centrepiece of a week of activity planned by union branches across the country.

The government, which hopes to launch the stock market flotation of the country's 497 year-old postal service later this year, says the Royal Mail needs to access private capital and modernise. Royal Mail said the privatisation would allow it to secure as many jobs as possible.

But the plans have been criticised by unions, which say the sale will spark a decline in postal service provision and working conditions for the company's 150,000 employees.

"We're going to tour the city and take this campaign to the banks that are selling this company," said Kevin Slocombe, the head of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) campaign.

"This is a good attempt to really engage people in the city... the banks and the people who actually buy shares."

UBS and Goldman Sachs both declined to comment on the protest.

Royal Mail Chief Executive Moya Greene has acknowledged union members will never drop opposition to privatisation but glossed over whether investors had expressed concern at the level of response from the company's workforce.

The CWU protest plans were unveiled at a packed parliamentary lobby on Tuesday, where union members and lawmakers outside the current coalition government spoke to an audience of postal workers.

(Editing by Louise Heavens)

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