Hundreds of Royal Mail Group (LON:RMG) staff have complained that they have been short-changed as a result of this month’s hefty fall in the company’s share price, the BBC reports. The privatised postal operator’s shares have fallen by about 28 percent since the group warned on profits earlier this month.
Royal Mail’s share price fell marginally on Friday, giving up 0.18 percent to 340.60p. The dip was in line with losses in the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index shedding 11.02 points to close 0.16 percent lower at 6,995.91. The group’s shares have lost a little over 12 percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 7.4-percent dip in the Footsie.
Staff claim they were short-changed
The BBC reported this morning that hundreds of Royal Mail staff claim that the privatised postal operator deliberately issued a profit warning weeks before many were planning to sell their shares. Some 145,000 postal staff have waited five years to sell the free shares they were given at the time of privatisation, with Monday being the first day they can sell their holdings without having to pay tax or National Insurance.
Des Arthur, a postman from Coventry, told the BBC that the timing of the group’s profit warning “could be viewed as extremely cynical”. The newswire also reports that the Communication Workers Union had said that hundreds more staff had expressed their anger.
‘No choice’ over profit warning
Royal Mail meanwhile said that it had no choice over when to release the profit warning.
“We had an obligation to tell the market, and that’s what we did,” a spokesperson told the BBC, adding that there “was no link between that and the free shares”. The company, however, noted that anyone who pre-elected to sell their shares before 1 October would be able to cancel their transactions.