Royal Mail agrees to 9 percent staff pay rise over three years

LONDON Mon Dec 9, 2013 3:28pm GMT

A man rides a bicycle past a post box in London November 27, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

A man rides a bicycle past a post box in London November 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's newly privatised Royal Mail said on Monday it had agreed with union members to a 9.06 percent staff pay rise over the next three years.

Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents the majority of the postal firm's staff, said last week an agreement had been reached in principle on pay, pensions and working conditions, averting the risk of a strike taking place over the busy Christmas period.

The union rejected an 8.6 percent pay increase over three years and a lump sum payment of 300 pounds in July.

The newly agreed pay hike includes a 3.0 percent pay rise in 2013/14 backdated to April 2013, the same rise in 2014/15, and a 2.8 percent rise subject to inflation in 2015/16.

The 139,000 staff will also receive a 200 pound lump sum payment in December, a new employee incentive scheme, legal protection on workers terms and conditions, and higher pension contributions from Royal Mail.

The firm said the new agreement would not change its financial outlook.

The threat of industrial action formed part of the backdrop to Britain's high-profile privatisation of Royal Mail, much opposed by the CWU but sealed in October when the government sold a 60 percent stake and handed 10 percent to staff.

Shares in Royal Mail have since rocketed more than 80 percent above its 330 pence offer price, prompting debate over whether it was sold off too cheaply.

Shares in the firm, which is set to move into Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 on Wednesday, were up 0.4 percent to 569.5 pence at 1515 GMT.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by Kate Holton)

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