Union reps from Royal Mail will meet on Wednesday and Thursday this week to decide on whether to hold a national strike ballot of all Royal Mail workers. If passed, the CWU will then set out a timetable to hold a ballot of 115,000 members across Royal Mail Group (excludes Parcelforce and the Post Office).
They say that they will debate a range of issues, including securing job protections in Royal Mail, alternative business models to privatisation, changes to pensions, and workplace pressure.
Royal Mail point out that they haveproposed a legally binding 3 year agreement to deliver growth and industrial stability that included an 8.6% increase in base pay over 3 years. It has been rejected by the CWU, but they are continuing to talk with them about reaching agreement.
Royal Mail add that they believe strike action or threat of strike action is harmful adding that Royal Mail operates in a very competitive market and that they recognise that customers have a choice and can move their business very quickly.
In other words Royal Mail know that they’re going to lose business in a strike and in all likelihood will never get that business back. They’ve enough on their plate with privatisation without having strikes to make the company less attractive to investors.
The CWU generally call for strikes in the run up to Christmas as that’s the most disruptive time of year for consumers and businesses. However if they do strike there’s no point striking after a stock flotation as it would be too late so strikes could be sooner rather than later.
Buckle up for a late Summer/early Autumn of discontent and start investigating alternatives for when the inevitable happens. If strikes don’t happen at least you’ll know what the best postal/courier alternatives for your business are and if they do happen you’ll be ready to switch carriers at a moments notice.
It’s sad but even the threat of strikes will harm Royal Mail, but if Royal Mail is to be harmed don’t let your business suffer by not being prepared.