Thousands of Royal Mail workers will receive free shares after privatisation

Royal Mail at Swan Valley.
Royal Mail at Swan Valley.

Almost 2,850 Royal Mail employees in Northamptonshire will receive free shares after the Government announced its intention to dispose of a majority stake in the business and to float it on the London Stock Exchange

Staff at Royal Mail sites including the South Midlands mail centre at Swan Valley, Northampton (pictured) as well as Corby, Kettering, and staff working in Parcelforce Worldwide, will receive free shares in the business.

Employees will automatically receive equal amounts of free shares, irrespective of their grade with a pro-rata allocation for part-time employees.

It will be the first major UK privatisation where all the shares for employees will be given to them on a free basis.

Royal Mail said it welcomed the Government’s announcement and its intention to give 10 per cent of all the shares in the business free to eligible Royal Mail employees.

Paul Whitehouse, delivery director said: “Our people are the heart of our business at Royal Mail. I’m very proud that I will be one of the owners of Royal Mail following a successful flotation on the stock exchange, along with my other Northamptonshire colleagues and those elsewhere around the country. By owning 10 per cent of the company, together we will have a meaningful stake in the business. I think this will engage everyone and encourage us to continue to work together to build a great future for Royal Mail.”

However the postal union, the CWU, which staged a protest outside Royal Mail’s London headquarters yesterday, dismissed the arguments for privatisation.

Deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: “I don’t think our members will be bought off by the free share issue.

“I believe our members are too long in the tooth not to know the dangers of privatisation.”

Mr Ward said it was “simply not true” that Royal Mail could not survive without being privatised.

“I really do not understand what the Government are trying to achieve by this,” he said. “If you think about the profits the Royal Mail are now making, there’s no need for it to be privatised.

“What privatisation will do is destroy the UK’s universal postal service. There’s no way private companies can maintain six-day-a-week deliveries to every single address in the UK.”

He said he expected members to be balloted by the end of September on whether to take strike action.