Strikers’ own goal

Strikers’ own goal

It is almost hard to believe it, but within days of the successful sale of Royal Mail’s shares, its postal workers have voted to go on strike – the first time that it has done so since 2009. The official reason is that the Communication Workers Union is acting to protect workers’ terms and conditions following privatisation. But why would that be necessary? The Government offered generous guarantees and a pay rise to existing workers before the sell-off. Moreover, it gave all full-time staff 725 shares, worth a lucrative £3,545 at Tuesday’s close.

Considering that everything possible has been done to placate the Communication Workers Union, it is hard not to conclude that their action is an ex post facto protest at privatisation – and a rather impotent one at that. As the sell-off has already taken place, picketing the stable door after the horse has bolted will make little difference, save as part of a politically motivated strike designed to make a statement about the Government’s handling of the industry.

As well as being inconvenient for customers, the strike will likely hurt those who are taking part. Although only a day’s delivery is threatened, the result could be that irritated companies switch to other service providers – damaging Royal Mail’s profits and, presumably, the value of the shares that the employees were given for free. That the union does not understand this suggests it has an antiquated idea of how the free market works. Postal delivery is no longer a monopoly, and if customers become dissatisfied with the Royal Mail’s service then they are at liberty to take their business elsewhere. Union leaders need to understand that it is in their members’ best interest to ensure that the newly privatised company runs as effectively and as efficiently as possible.

Finance News – Business news from the UK and world


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.