We believe that the mediation talks between the Royal Mail and the CWU have progressed to the stage where the mediator, Professor Lynette Harris, is preparing her report. We estimate that this could be delivered as early as next week.
“The talks have been difficult and protracted. The next couple of weeks will be crucial to determine whether a final Agreement can be reached if we are to secure our objective in regards to our Four Pillars of Security and Pay to the point that we can genuinely build a bridge between our current Agreement and the next few years.
As part of the mediation process, the external Mediator is now due to provide a final summary report setting out
- A summary of the final position of the parties
- The external Mediator’s conclusions regarding any points of dispute.
- The Mediator’s recommended solution to the issues indispute.”
None of this is news of course and runs according to our estimated Royal Mail and CWU Mediation Process Timeline published back in October.
Retailers can be reassured that in the run up to Christmas strikes are still extremely unlikely, although there is still a high probability of strikes at some point, judging by the tone of the CWU who added “no High Court Judge or third party Mediator will resolve this dispute, ultimately it is a matter between the CWU and Royal Mail Group”.
What we know at this stage is that from the date the mediator submits her report, the two sides have a week to meet and review the report, if they don’t agree two weeks for further negotiations and if they still can’t come to a resolution then this is the earliest point at which the CWU could give notice of strike days.
What is the earliest the CWU could call a mail strike?
That all adds up to about another five weeks of legal process before the first possible strike which takes us right up to Christmas.
Whilst it’s unlikely most of the country would support a CWU mail workers strike, retailers and the general public will probably all breath a sigh of relief that they will be after Christmas.
Whilst strikes are a pain, frankly the impact of a strike in January is negligible compared to pre-Christmas. There will still be plenty of packets and parcels flying around the country in the New Year, but the threat of an item not arriving in time for Christmas will be gone and it’s likely that consumers will shrug their shoulders and accept that their credit card statement might arrive a couple of days late.