The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 18th October 2013
THE COMMUNICATION Workers’ Union last week said that the taxpayer has lost out in the Government’s haste to sell Royal Mail.
By Thursday 10th October, just a day before the flotation on the stock exchange, the share price had already risen to £3.30 a share.
Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “Now everyone knows that Royal Mail has been undervalued and sold on the cheap.
“The low share price is another Government error compounding the mistake to sell in the first place.
“This successful British company has been flogged on the cheap for no good reason. It was flourishing in public ownership, could have accessed private capital in public ownership — as many other companies do — and could have continued to provide a high service in public ownership.
Instead it has been thrown an uncertain future based on profit margins not services.
“Our strike ballot is more important than ever to secure the future of jobs and services in the company. We are already seeing warnings from Royal Mail that they will make redundancies. Whoever owns Royal Mail, the CWU is here to stay.”
CWU is holding a strike ballot on the issues of pay, job security and terms and conditions which are made more urgent by the privatisation of the company. The ballot closes on 16th October with the result the same day.
CWU members staged a protest outside the London Stock Exchange on Paternoster Square on Friday 11th to coincide with the floatation of Royal Mail.
Demonstrators dressed as robbers with swag bags and as David Cameron, George Osborne and Vince Cable — along with postal workers with a huge banner saying “the Great Royal Mail Robbery” and placards.
The Labour leadership has called for two inquiries into the sell-off, which is estimated to have lost taxpayers around £750 million by undervaluing the shares. The National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee have been asked to investigate the “woefully undervalued” flotation.
The Labour leadership call came after frenzied trading of more than 100 million shares pushed the 378-year-old company up from the Government’s valuation of £3.3billion to £4.4billion on Friday.
One investor told the Sunday Mirror: “Everyone knew the sale was woefully undervalued. But the Government could not risk failure.
“So they went ahead and we filled our boots.”
Now Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna has demanded a National Audit Office probe into the sale after it emerged City traders blocked moves to set the launch price higher than £3.30 a share.
And he has also called on the powerful Public Accounts Committee to investigate the flotation.
Embattled Business Secretary Vince Cable denied he was behind a fire sale of a British institution and said the share price would fall back.