Staff to get tenth of Royal Mail under privatisation: govt

22nd September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Employees at Royal Mail will receive at least ten percent of shares following privatisation of the state-owned postal service, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced Wednesday.

"This will be the largest employee shares scheme of any (British) privatisation for 25 years in terms of the number of workers who will benefit -- second only to the privatisation of British Telecom (BT) in 1984," Cable said.

The announcement came as Cable addressed the annual conference of his Liberal Democrat party, the junior partner in Britain's coalition led by Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives.

"The percentage being allocated to employees is also potentially one of the largest -- larger than BT, British Gas or British Airways," Cable said in a statement.

Upcoming legislation "will include a specific provision to make available at least 10 percent of the shares in Royal Mail to employees, as part of the privatisation process", the minister said.

"This is a once in a generation chance to transform the culture at Royal Mail -- energising everyone and allowing employers and employees to share in the company's future success."

Cable said the plans did not include the sale of Royal Mail's Post Office business, adding: "There will be no programme of (post office) closures" as there were under the previous Labour government.

Britain's coalition government, which came to power in May, had announced earlier this month that it would press ahead with plans to privatise or sell off Royal Mail.

Cable said Wednesday that Royal Mail was "struggling under the weight of some huge pressures: pressure from email and falling mail volumes; pressure from a dire pension position; pressure from a lack of money to invest."

© 2010 AFP

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