Will Royal Mail industrial dispute and share price dive unseat the CEO?

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To postpone industrial action in the ongoing Royal Mail industrial dispute, the company obtained an interim injunction blocking CWU members from striking, as expected the CWU have formerly lodged an appeal seeking to overturn the injunction.

With a yes vote of 97.1% following a ballot of roughly 110,000 UK postal workers, it looked as if the CWU had run a faultless campaign with the result representing the largest yes vote for national industrial action since the passing of the Trade union Act 2016. However, Royal Mail alleged that workers intercepting their post at delivery offices and completing ballot en masse, often photographing or filming themselves doing so. This, said the courts, was exerting undue influence on posties who should have been able to quietly consider the ballot and carry out their vote in the peace of their own homes.

The courts sided with Royal Mail, but perhaps the biggest issue isn’t whether Posties walk out on strike in the Royal Mail industrial dispute, and instead the bitter and acrimonious manner in which the unrest rolls on, which could see the CWU and workers pitted against Royal Mail for months into the future. Dave Ward, CUW General Secretary didn’t pull any punches in his statement to the Morning Star today regarding the appeal:

“Appealing this decision is the right thing to do. Not only for our members but for all workers.
After the outrage of last week we have moved quickly onto the next phase of our dispute.
We have prepared a letter to all shareholders, will be holding a national briefing of our representatives and on Friday we have called a union meeting in every office. We shall not be moved.”

– Dave Ward, general secretary, CWU speaking to the Morning Star

With Royal Mail’s share price already slumping to an all time low losing 17% of it’s value this morning after their half year results were published, if the CWU win their appeal it’s likely that shares could fall even further.

The falling share price, especially if it slips further, could potentially bring down Rico Back and even Chairman of the board Keith Williams. We have seen recently what happens when shareholders are dissatisfied with company performance the unseating of eBay CEO Devin Wenig – how much patience will Royal Mail shareholders have with the Royal Mail industrial dispute pitting the company against 110,000 of it’s workers, a modernisation program which is behind schedule, a bleak outlook for the next financial year forecasting a profit loss or at best breaking even, and a share price which just lost close to a fifth of it’s value?


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