Mail workers CWU Strike Ballot enters final week

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Around 110,000 postal workers will be filling out CWU Strike ballot forms this week, for the second time within 6 months following High Court action by Royal Mail to get the last strike ballot declared void. The ruling meant that the union was forced to ballot its members about strike action again.

The CWU opened the national ballot on Monday 2nd March, and the ballot will close on Tuesday 17th March following a silent protest last Thursday. A “Say It With Silence” day of action saw postal workers covering their mouths and holding union posters in silence. The gesture wss intended as a reference to the CWU being legally restricted from taking strike action late last year.

The CWU are in full campaign mode including gate meetings a massive social media presence

“Our members fell silent today [Thursday], but not in the way the bosses might prefer.
In offices across the width and breadth of this country, our members have made it very clear that they won’t be gagged or intimidated by anyone trying to prevent them from exercising their right to take action.
No courts or managers will break their spirit. Our members are the backbone of the Royal Mail and they will stand shoulder to shoulder with each other to protect that proud institution from the corroding influence of private profit.
Our members said it with silence today [Thursday], but they’ll be a little bit less silent in the coming weeks, where I am sure they will deliver a massive yes vote for industrial action.”

– Dave Ward, General Secretary, CWU

So from around the 17th of March we’ll know whether the CWU strike ballot has a mandate to strike. The previous ballot which had a record yes vote of 97.1% with 75.9% ballots returned, which easily broke the threshold, that a majority of those balloted must have returned their ballot paper, set by the Trade union Act 2016. Based on this previous success, we are predicting that the CWU will get another strike mandate which could prove disruptive to ecommerce if the Royal Mail can’t come to an agreement on outstanding issues.

19 Responses

  1. Seems like the management of Royal Mail are intent on forcing a confrontation with their own workforce – and this tactic could not be considered a very enlightened in the 21st century. Surely it is better to proceed with negotiation and compromise – IE carrot not stick!!

  2. Perfect timing – they’ll all be out of a job soon anyway when the new postage price hikes come in on 23rd March.

  3. stock markets plummeting, oil price falling,
    half of the world infected with a virus,
    go for it CWU keep the red flag flying high

  4. Well, I must say, with the threat of strike action last year at peak time, we moved more than half of our Royal Mail packages to Amazon Shipping, and we won’t look back!

    Amazon Shipping are providing fully tracked parcels up to 2KG for only £2.81 with Next Day Delivery on most. 7KG Parcels for £2.62, and 20KG for £4.18. Larger customers will likely receive discounts on this.

    It is also a fully insured service with reimbursements for the full value of the order if any were to get lost.

    I am pleasantly surprised how well this has gone, and now we don’t usually send anything over 1KG via Royal Mail, which is a large chunk of our business.

    Very rarely has a package got lost, and unlike RM 48 or RM24 (which is more expensive) we know exactly where the package is, and if mis-delivered or lost, we can quickly raise a claim and send a replacement, although this has happened less than packages going missing with Royal Mail, Parcelforce or DX. The claim process is very straight-forward and not a massive form designed to put you off claiming and pays full value, not trying to pay only what was paid to the original manufacturer (nevermind the additional costs incurred along the way before the sale).

    They also have fully tracked next day insured large letter rates that are also good at £1.87 (cheaper than RM 24 untracked) although we still use RM 48 to keep the cost down on these low value orders.

    I’ve heard posties disregard this saying that Amazon using Royal Mail for most of their deliveries. Yes this is true to an extent. However for Amazon Shipping providing our deliveries, it uses Amazon couriers only for the next day service, and where they cannot provide this, they then pass onto Royal Mail, but we know this before printing a shipping label to decide. In any case I’d say at least 90-95% of these packages are handled directly by Amazon now.

    If a strike happens we will probably move it all over to Amazon Shipping through this time.

    Once they get full UK coverage without handing off to Royal Mail for anything, it will be unbeatable and a no-brainer.

    Our shipping costs have reduced by over £1,000 per month already while trialling Amazon Shipping, and we’re now seeing both Royal Mail and Parcelforce invoices at less than half the value that we used to have before then.

    This strike is only going to hurt Royal Mail and therefore postal workers jobs, as more businesses must look for alternative ways to keep their businesses running.

    As marketplace traders, we don’t have the luxury of just waiting until a strike is over, and that ignores the several weeks of disruption to the post as they catch up too. If we don’t deliver on-time regardless of strikes, customers will leave negative feedback, and it won’t take much of this to impact selling privileges on the marketplaces.

    So Amazon Shipping was our fallback plan. It is now our main carrier with Royal Mail secondary to this. Way to go strikes!

  5. Have to agree with nick. While i have no doubt that RM managers are no innocent in all this, the constant threat of strikes from the union is not exactly helpful.
    It is always important to remember the old saying, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
    With the days of letters dwindling faster than you can write one, and that still being the core of RM business, anything that advances RM into the bigger busienss of parcels has to be welcomed. Yes change sucks, but so does being obsolete. The coruiers are already streets (ha ha ) ahead in this line and RM need to be failing over themself to advance and adapt. Instead the management, staff and unions are happily destroying their own futures.
    Businesses are the customers that will make or break it now, and right now businesses are pretty damn fed up with not knowing whether their mail is going to be picked up and delivered at peak times due to the threat of strikes. Unlike the old days, we have other alternatives now and many, as Nick has said are going there.
    This last week i have had a RM manager paractically begging me to do more business with them on various items…. the fact is it is too expensive, too unreliable and not the stable company i want to be ina controlling position of mine.
    … However with the management apparantely making promises and then breaking them, the staff wanting to walk out at the worst possible times and sod the businesses of those who create their jobs, and a union that claims even the courts won’t break their spiirits ( courts don’t break spirits, they uphold the law…..If the union acts within it then their won’t be any issues!)…… Well i hardly have any faith in the companies future anymore. Shame because my postie is a great guy!

  6. SO … All things considered. I imagine those workers that voted to strike, would like to suck that vote back up and keep working. When and where will the result be announced ?


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