CWU to serve Royal Mail strike ballot notice today

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The CWU have announced a ballot of over 100,000 Royal Mail workers with the likelihood being that strikes will be called this Christmas.

Today the CWU will serve notice of the ballot on Royal Mail Group for all members employed in their companies, having decided that Royal Mail are digging their heels in over negotiations and are pursuing profits over service and workers rights.

The first question to ask yourself isn’t do you support the CWU and Posties or if you think the Royal Mail is doing the right thing? You need to ask yourself if the Royal Mail workers go on strike this Christmas, which couriers do you have lined up to get your parcels delivered to ensure that your own business isn’t damaged?

As you’d expect the CWU portray themselves as the guardians of a 500 year old institution and say that it’s for the good of the country that the service, still enshrined in law, is protected for the good of everyone. The CWU’s Terry Pullinger complains that Royal Mail might change the number of planes they use along with other modernisation plans and cries that share holders get paid profits (erm… I thought that’s why shareholders invest!) whilst workers deserve a pay rise. There’s also the ongoing wrangles over pensions and working hours not forgetting that the CWU still believes the Royal Mail should never have been privatised.

Realistically working hours have to change for posties. We are all buying more things online and want them delivered tomorrow and the only way that Royal Mail can offer later cut off times for collections from retailers is if postal rounds are shifted to later start times the following day. It takes time to pick the parcel up, transport it from one end of the country to the other and then get it delivered. If posties start their rounds early in the morning then cut off times have to be late afternoon. If we want 9pm, 10pm or midnight cut off times to purchase for delivery tomorrow then posties will have to start work later in the day to give the parcels time to reach the local delivery depots.

Modernising Royal Mail is a massively complex multi-year operation and the economic climate isn’t great for it – even the price of fuel is sky high partly driven by the weakness of Sterling and there are few companies out there making massive profits. Royal Mail are already losing business at a rate of knots (Amazon now deliver 7% of the UK’s parcels through Amazon Logistics and that’s business that undoubtedly a chunk of which used to be Royal Mails). If a strike happens then retailers will find alternative carriers this Christmas and once gone, there’s a very high probability that those parcel volumes will never return to Royal Mail so everyone involved loses.

The calling of a ballot on strike action doesn’t mean that strikes will go ahead, strikes are still avoidable but to remove the threat means that both Royal Mail and the CWU need to get real and embrace compromise on both sides. What the ballot does mean is if there is no further progress in talks over the coming weeks that the CWU can ruin everyone’s Christmas.

Those with long memories will recall the CWU regularly calling postal strikes once every two years right up until 2009. The public at the time were relatively sympathetic but in 2009 they’d had enough and in general the public didn’t support the last postal strike. All the man or woman in the street wanted was their kids Christmas presents delivered and I can’t see that being any different this year.

Once the nuclear button of a strike is pushed the CWU have exhausted their arsenal, Royal Mail start to lose business, employees start to lose wages and the public run out of patience. We’re in 2017, not the 1980s and the appetite for strikes is no longer what it once was.

We’re expecting a statement from the CWU later today and doubtless Royal Mail will respond so watch this space… In the meant time here is the video the CWU released yesterday:

15 Responses

  1. Having worked for 49 years i have always had a pay rise roughly in line with inflation so whats different this year ? Royal mail made 75 million profit last year a record for them ,i also wonder why senior managers and executives will still be keeping there final salary pensions if the pension scheme has become unaffordable ?

  2. On 17 Sept 2003 – Postal workers narrowly voted against taking industrial action over pay.

    I had jut had a delivery of a 200,000 mailing into Royal Mail, the announcement, as I recall, did not come until about 6pm that evening. quickly followed by a bottle of champagne and a lot of relief.

    Over all I think RMG do provide a good service and hope they do not strike as it can only lead to their demise in the long run.

  3. Stop pen pushing and go take a 16km walk 5 days a week!!! It’s hard work and get pushed every day! Unless u have done the job keep it shut!! Maybe you would like your pension halved? Don’t write about things you know nothing about and people don’t care about your views!!! Fool!!

  4. If they want it next day try the shops!!! Royal Mail has been going 500 years and people still having there parcels delivered with them because the competition is know where near as good

  5. I would ask people to have a look at the mail delivered through your letterbox. Look at the stamp on the envelope, is it Uk mail, TNT, citipost mail etc. Then ask yourself who actually delivered the letters. Who does the ordinary person in the street use to send their mail, not U.K. Mail, TNT etc they don’t have collection boxes for you to use. Again look at the parcels that arrive by Royal Mail a lot of which are from other postal companies. Royal Mail does not have the choice whether to deliver or not. Royal Mail has to give access to other companies for them to use our delivery systems. Royal Mail does not use these other companies to deliver Royal Mail letters and parcels, is this fair competition. If a company says they can collect your bulk post or parcels and deliver them, shouldn’t that company actually deliver them, it’s what you are paying for.

  6. i think reading chris dawsons comments it clear whos side hes on, im a postie in glasgow and see daily managers out doing postmans work due to cuts in manpower and budgets to meet unrealistic targets fact. and hes correct we no shareholders want a return for there money they have made plenty so far since privatisation and want to make much more at the expense of the workforce and the service we have delivered for 500 years. fact

  7. and furthermore regarding the cwu ruining xmas for the public. we have heard these comments plenty times thro the years regarding striking workers being to blame for exersising there right to withdraw there labour. the railways is a classic example and we have seen whats become of our fragmented rail network! posties dont want to strike we want to protect the service under threat not just for this xmas but in future. trust us not the fat cat hedge funds bleading the company dry in there lust for profits.

  8. I’m a postman and my colleagues and I do not want to strike at all. We just want to be treated fairly for the job we do. Royal Mail are on a massive cost cutting exercise and it is us the posties who are paying for it. Managers are under pressure to save money from above and in turn, that pressure gets passed down to us. Payrates for doing extra walks have been cut, full time employees have retired or have left their jobs and their roles are being filled by part time staff, which leaves us all to pick up the extra work. Rounds are being covered by these part timers hence the reason you get a different postman everyday and delivered at 3 or 4pm. Posties are being bullied and harassed by managers if they do not work over their part time hours. These are just a few problems to name a few whilst Royal Mail executives are getting bonuses and share dividends. Royal Mail should take a good look at themselves and understand what the customer of guessing. Let’s go back to providing a good working environment for the posties and great customer service for our customers.

  9. Royal Mail is the only universal mailing system in the uk .first of all it should stop delivering for TNT uk mail etc and see how they cope .
    Secondly it needs to be provide better pension arrangements and for this it’s Dunn to the pension trustees to do there job by monitoring closely the pension funds performance.
    Thirdly recruiting more workers and paying a decent wage to all staff not just the managers

  10. A 16km walk 5 days a week?
    Should try working in logistics then for a courier company. We used to do 20 miles in a night pushing heavy cages, carrying heavy items that wouldn’t fit in a cage or pulling a pallet on a pump truck. 20 miles is a bit more than 16km and we would be walking from 7 or 8 at night until 3 or 4 in the morning.
    Lots of people who aren’t royal mail staff who also work hard in their jobs. And don’t try and lose work.

    I don’t want to switch to using a courier for all the work but if royal mail are not able to do the job then will have to pass the work to someone who can.
    Whether royal mail get any work back afterwards is open to question. Cannot imagine my business will be the only business to switch.

  11. The Government should do more to protect and promote good companies who pay a decent wage, have a decent pension and have decent terms and conditions.
    These decent companies are loosing business to the likes of Amazon, Hermes, DPD, Yodel, Hermes, Diliveroo, Uber, ect, who’s employment model is a lot to be desired, offering zero hours contracts, minimum wage, no wage in retirement, a gig economy and a workhouse environment.
    These employers are a scourge on our society, not the postmen/women who are wanting, only to keep what they already have.
    We should be proud of them.

  12. unions have a place but I feel they are too quick to support the lazy and awkward. as a union member who turns up on time, does not pull sickies and wants to get on with the job I am treated as a creep or arse licker. I hear things like ‘slow down’ or go sick or ‘use it or lose it’. Union needs to modernise and put their resources where it is really needed.

  13. Hardly use any RM/Post Office for any of my business as the service is slow dropping parcels off at a post office compered to MyHermes or UPS drop off locations. If I take one parcel to a post office, they have to weight it, some time discuss if I have under paid due to getting a cheaper pre paid label online, they then have to type the address in of the parcel for the receipt. In the time it takes I can be in and out of a shop, scanned 10 parcels for a MyHermes drop off.

  14. Walking 16km a day in all weathers with a bag hanging round my neck is a lot different from walking on a flat warehouse floor with heating and keeping you dry!


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