‘The Royal Mail employee shares scheme shouldn’t be shelved, it should be scrapped altogether,’ Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) London Regional Secretary John Denton told News Line yesterday.
He was responding to the news that the Department for Trade and Industry has held off from a decision on whether to allow the scheme to go ahead, delaying any announcement until November or early December.
Denton added: ‘It’s certainly a victory for the CWU.
‘Faced with the prospect of industrial action, the government has backed down.’
Referring to Royal Mail boss Alan Leighton, he added: ‘The so-called shadow employee share scheme is a con-trick from the man who has a record of promising things he doesn’t have the authority to carry out.
‘It would take primary legislation to bring it in.
‘I don’t think the government wants to bring forward primary legislation which would face opposition from Labour back benchers.’
The news comes as CWU negotiators are in the middle of talks aimed at finalising the Royal Mail pay deal.
Denton said: ‘We are waiting to hear from our executive.
‘Members feel we have a victory but we need to sort it out and put something to the membership to vote on.’
A CWU national spokeswoman told News Line: ‘We are opposed to the shares issue scheme. We see it as privatisation.
‘And we hold the government to the manifesto promise that it will keep Royal Mail public – a 100 per cent publicly owned company.
‘Alan Leighton has been waiting to implement the share scheme for years.
‘We believe it would need primary legislation and it is something we would fight.’
All Trades Unions Alliance National Secretary Dave Wiltshire told News Line: ‘The government have delayed their decision because the situation is explosive in Royal Mail today over a whole host of issues including Team Working.
‘Royal Mail is waiting for a time for when it feels more confident. These issues are coming to a head, they cannot be evaded.
‘CWU members need a leadership that is prepared to take on and defeat Royal Mail management and this government.’