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Royal Mail: Union announces ballot over possible strike action

The Royal Mail could see major disruption to services after the Communication Workers Union announced plans to ballot its membership over strikes, reports the Mirror.

The Royal Mail, one of the world's oldest organised mail organisations, is facing an unprecedented crisis after the Communication Workers Union (CWU) announced plans to strike in response to government plans to privatise the organisation.

The 497-year-old service has been in government hands for much of the past two centuries; however, the Government recently announced plans to float more than 50% of the company on the stock exchange by the end of October. 

The result, says Billy Hayes the general secretary of the CWU, will be a complete destabilisation of the service, and will lead to certain strike action.

This week 115,000 workers will be balloted on proposed strike action over pay, conditions, pensions and the proposed privatisation.

The Royal Mail countered the threat by polling the public, to show that 72% believed that the Royal Mail workers should accept a pay offer and back down from striking.

However, the MORI poll was dismissed by the CWU.

"I suggest Royal Mail better spends its energy dealing with employee concerns than spurious polls that serve no purpose," the statement read.

The news comes as the Financial Times reports that Rapid Ratings, a US-based rating company, viewed Royal Mail's finances as the best in the business, rating them higher than those of highly regarded rivals including Germany's Deutsche Post DHL.

The Royal Mail was making a loss until 2010, but since then it has turned its fortunes around under Canadian chief executive Moya Greene and posted a pre-tax profit of £324m in the previous year.