The full privatisation of Royal Mail has now been completed in a process that has proved controversial on many levels.
The Conservative government sold off its final 13 percent public stake in Royal Mail for just over £591 million.
The postal workers union have branded the move a “disgrace”.
Royal Mail shares were sold at 455p per share on Monday night, making final the 2-year privatization scheme.
The remaining 1 percent stake was awarded to eligible Royal Mail employees, bringing the workers’ total stake in the company to 12 percent.
George Osborne was happy with the move, even claiming that the Royal Mail had been ‘returned’ to the private sector.
Tory leaders celebrated the move, with Business Secretary Sajid Javid calling the sale “the right step for the Royal Mail, its customers and the taxpayer.”
“This is a truly historic day for Royal Mail with the workers gaining a share of this history,” he said on Tuesday morning.
We’ve finished process of returning @RoyalMail to private sector. Right thing to do for Royal Mail workforce, customers and the taxpayer
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) October 13, 2015
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne promised that the proceeds from the sale, 3.3 billion, would go towards paying off the national debt.
“By fully leaving state ownership we have a win all round, for customers, the workforce and the taxpayer. And every penny will be used to pay down our national debt as we continue to bring our public finances under control,” Osborne said.
Unions however see the sale as an assault on already dwindling workers’ rights, with Communication Workers Union (CWU) General Secretary Dave Ward, saying on Tuesday: “This fire sale nails the lie that the Tories stand up for the interests of ordinary people. By their actions today they have made it abundantly clear that they are only interested in privatization dogma and making the rich richer – even when their actions place public services at risk.
“The remaining government share in this profitable company should have been used to safeguard the public’s voice in Royal Mail and ensure the continuation of daily deliveries to every address in the country.”
The sale went ahead a week after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told thousands at a protest rally in Manchester that the Royal Mail should remain in public hands.