The two sides had initial talks on the charter last Monday after CWU members voted this month to ratify their industrial relations deal, drawn up to end years of strife. The union wants
The charter was mentioned briefly in the legal agreement announced in December, but
"For me it's about setting out very clearly what the values and principles are of this company. We want it to demonstrate that we are up for growth, innovation and change but on the basis of the highest possible employment standards and service levels," Ward said.
In addition to agreements on pay and pensions, the union secured undertakings from
The government sold a 60% stake in
The union wants to cement an abiding set of principles to prevent new management imposing harsher conditions after the current deal expires. It also wants to guard against new investors such as hedge funds putting pressure on management to take on the union once the government's remaining stake is sold.
"The main downside for managers is it gives the union a set of values they can throw back at you and to tie you in to a particular type of process. In some situations managers may think they need to act more quickly and be more decisive."
The two sides will lock horns over how specific the charter's terms will be. The union has made it clear that it wants a vote for shareholders.
The furore over the sale erupted again last week after it was revealed that investment banks had estimated the company's value at up to pounds 1.5bn more than its flotation price. Figures released by the business department showed that of 21 City advisers that supplied early valuations in May, the average ranged from pounds 4bn to pounds 4.8bn. The government sold 60% of its stake in October in a privatisation that valued
The amount by which investment banks estimated the company's value exceeded its flotation price
The stake in
The amount by which
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