Having served notice on the Royal Mail that they intend to hold a ballot for strike action, the CWU are today calling on every single office in the UK to hold a members meeting in a “National Gate Meeting Day”. They are asking members to create a wave of CWU activity across the Country and to you to post the images on social media using the hashtag #RiseUp.
The CWU are also planning to the biggest Trade Union meeting in a generation by inviting thousands of CWU members to join them for a live Facebook Q&A. They want to give Posties the chance to hear from General Secretary Dave Ward and Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger on the dispute and ask questions of the union’s leadership.
Naturally Royal Mail is very disappointed that the CWU has issued a formal notice to ballot for industrial action.
“We believe there are no grounds for industrial action. We remain committed to reaching a negotiated agreement with the CWU on pay and pensions, and other issues we have been discussing. A ballot does not necessarily mean there will be industrial action”
– Royal Mail
Royal Mail say that they have engaged with the CWU on the core principles of its Four Pillars. We have offered to continue working towards a new pay deal, including aspects of productivity-related pay and opportunities to consider a shorter working week. They are not proposing “to change our core terms and conditions or our commitment to a predominantly permanent workforce” and say that “A more flexible and adaptable Royal Mail is the best way to secure as many high quality jobs as possible at the Company now and in the future“.
The big wedge between the Royal Mail and the CWU is that workers simply haven’t bought into Royal Mail’s vision for the future. Actually it’s more a problem for Royal Mail than it is for the CWU who are probably rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of a strike which hasn’t happened for 8 years.
The world has changed and whilst the CWU and posties complain that with proposed changes we might not get our mail until late in the afternoon the question that really matters is do you as a consumer really care? My post habitually arrives about 1-2pm already and it’s mostly junk mail or bills. The days of receiving a card on your birthday before breakfast are a long distant memory and what most consumers want today are their ecommerce purchases delivered as quickly as possible.
The only way that Royal Mail can compete with other couriers is to offer retailers later cut off times, a more agile delivery proposition and for that they need to engage with their workforce and sell the future to them. There’s no point harping back to a past when the post arrived early morning and a second post arrived at lunch time. Those days are gone and it’s not a service that businesses or consumers necessarily want to see brought back.
Now is the time for the Union to get real on their demands and the Royal Mail to engage with their workforce and sell them on a future that works for everyone. Otherwise it appears almost a certainty that there’ll be postal strikes this Christmas and businesses will leave Royal Mail never to return.