Royal Mail slammed by Communications Workers Union for banning share ownership ballot

Royal Mail has been accused of undemocratic and heavy handed behaviour after banning unions from conducting a ballot at work on employee share ownership.

All mail managers have been told to prohibit the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) from holding a consultative ballot in mail centres on the controversial plans for share ownership.

Managers were also told to tear down union posters that were not on designated notice boards, according to The Times.

Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “For a public company to deny the opportunity of the workforce to express an opinion and also to seek to undermine the Labour Party manifesto commitment to keep Royal Mail in the public sector is deeply disturbing for standards in public life.”

The move was also criticised by Conservative and Liberal Democrat spokesmen on trade and industry.

Share ownership, which chairman Allan Leighton has made a cornerstone of his plans for Royal Mail, has proved highly controversial. Many opponents view it as the first step to privatisation and the parliamentary trade and industry committee described it as “incoherent”.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: “There is a clear and agreed industrial relations framework and a union consultative ballot doesn’t qualify for facilities support.”

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