The British government has confirmed that it will sell off a big chunk of the postal delivery service within nine months.
The UK’s biggest privatisation in 20 years will see a majority stake in the Royal Mail listed on the London stock market and raise hundreds of millions of pounds to help the country’s stretched finances.
Trying to win over postal workers – who mostly strongly oppose the sell off – the government has promised they will get free shares.
Management say privatisation will mean the Royal Mail can raise the investment money needed to shift focus from falling letter volumes to a growing parcels industry fuelled by internet shopping.
But workers, who have blocked previous privatisation attempts, say they will strike if it goes ahead.
They believe taking the Royal Mail out of public ownership could jeopardise its commitment to a universal, six-days-a-week delivery service and erode staff working conditions.