Belfast Telegraph

Employee ownership plan for Royal Mail

By Andrew Woodcock

Legislation to privatise the Royal Mail could come as early as this autumn and could give postal workers a stake in the company in a John Lewis-style partnership, it was reported yesterday.

The coalition agreement published last month committed the Government to seeking "to ensure an injection of private capital into Royal Mail, including opportunities for employee ownership". The Post Office will be kept in public hands, said the document.

According to today's report in the media, ministers are considering selling off as much as 100% of the Royal Mail or selling it off in stages.

Under the plan, a chunk of shares could be held in a trust to the benefit of its 170,000 staff.

Plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail were ditched last year by Labour's Lord Mandelson after stiff opposition from unions and some of the party's MPs.

But it is thought that the prospect of owning part of the company they work for may persuade employees against taking strike action in opposition to a sell-off.

Postal affairs minister Ed Davey said it could also improve the performance of the company, which suffered financially from a decline in the volume of items posted and a massive pension fund deficit.