Court of appeal bans Postal worker strikes this Christmas

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The CWU has been unsuccessful in its application to the Court of Appeal to overturn an interim injunction granted by the High Court on 13 November 2019. This means no postal worker strikes for the foreseeable future.

The High Court ruled that a postal ballot of Royal Mail employees for industrial action was unlawful and granted an interim injunction. The injunction prevents any industrial action being taken before the completion of a lawful ballot, resulting in a vote in favour of industrial action, and formal notification to the Company of any action. Now the CWU have lost an appeal against this interim injunction and with it the right to call postal worker strikes before another strike ballot is taken.

The reason the ballot was deemed unlawful is Posties in several depots intercepted their ballot papers and filled them out together in a show of solidarity. Some even took video or photos of their group voting. This was deemed to amount to a form of subversion of the ballot process as Posties may have been pressured to vote in favour of strike action compared to if they had voted in the privacy of their own homes.

As you can imaging the CWU weren’t too pleased calling the courts a farce:

Royal Mail, on the other hand, were rather more pleased at seeing off postal worker strikes before Christmas:

“Royal Mail is pleased that the Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court’s decision to grant an interim injunction against CWU meaning that no industrial action can be taken before the completion of a lawful ballot. This decision still stands.
We did not take the decision to go to the High Court lightly. We sought to reach resolution outside the courts. It is vital that our colleagues are able to vote without any constraint imposed upon them by any other party.
We want to reach agreement. As previously announced, we have written to CWU to say we want to enter into discussions without preconditions. Following this offer, we are hopeful that we can now follow on with meaningful discussions with the union to resolve this dispute.”

– Shane O’Riordain, Managing Director of Regulation and Corporate Affairs, Royal Mail

The status at the moment is that the CWU can’t realistically strike over the Black Friday period, the General Election or over the Christmas period. However, Royal Mail’s success signals a total break down in industrial relations with the CWU. Whilst no official strike action can be called, it would be no surprise to see calls for Posties to work to rule. This could see them happily accepting mail into the network but failing to process it using any excuse from a minor fault with a vehicle to refusing the option of overtime.

However, Royal Mail’s ace card at this time of year is causal labour – with no strike action they can’t be accused of breaking any strike action and they habitually take on additional staff at this time of year. Getting through Christmas however is one thing, reaching agreement with a totally militant CWU is another.

3 Responses

  1. The left Cant have it both ways
    Gloat when the judgement is against the government, then whinge when it is against them
    Were a democracy governed by the rule of law

  2. If i were a postal worker
    Fighting my way thru artic drifts fending off vicious animals and the odd dog or two
    I would be wondering how my union dues were being spent
    As full time officials and legal teams enjoyed
    Warm offices and wine bar breaks
    While peeing royal mail down the pan

  3. this is the UK in the 1970’s – users of anything controlled (?) by the government were treated with contempt.

    Corbyn’s Britain?

    Please vote in the general election.


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