A CWU Strike Ballot notice has been served on Royal Mail. The CWU which the majority of postal workers in the UK are members of, will vote on whether to strike.
The CWU strike ballot papers will be distributed on the 24th of September with the result expected to be declared on the 15th of October. If posties vote to strike, the walkout take place within weeks and threatens to disrupt mail services in the run up to Black Friday and the critical selling season ffor retailers.
The problem, according to the CWU, is since Rico Back took control of the Royal Mail that ‘The Four Pillars’ agreement agreed in 2018 has virtually been ripped up. Senior management who agreed to The Four Pillars have largely been replaced and the dispute covers a proposed break-up of the company, threats to the Universal Service Agreement and the breach of the national agreements.
“This union and it’s membership are in the fight of our lives. We face an assault on our terms, conditions and national agreements like we have never seen before. I am confident our members will stand with the union and delivery a massive yes vote in what is the most important dispute the union has ever had.”
– Terry Pullinger, Deputy General Secretary, CWU
Royal Mail has responded saying that a ballot result for industrial action does not necessarily mean there will be industrial action as there will be a mediation period and the company will continue to engage in dispute resolution. It’s worth remembering that when the last CWU strike ballot resulted in strike action, Royal Mail went to the High Court and won an injunction to delay the strikes from taking place.
Royal Mail will be asking posties to vote ‘no’ in the CWU strike ballot, but being realistic that’s not likely to happen. They say that industrial action – or the threat of it – undermines the trust of Royal Mail customers which makes it harder for Royal Mail to pay for the existing terms and conditions for workers. They are dead right here, with the launch this week of Shipping with Amazon there has never been so much choice in the delivery market. In past years Hermes have been winners and online sellers pretty much consider Royal Mail as having no competition in the letter and large letter market but have plenty of options as parcel size and weight rises.
“Royal Mail is committed to further talks as a matter of urgency. We believe there are no grounds for industrial action. We remain committed to open and constructive engagement with the CWU. We all want a successful and sustainable company that provides good quality jobs, fairness in workloads, and continues delivering a sustainable Universal Service.”
– Royal Mail