Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Royal Mail wins injunction against CWU strikes

Royal Mail worker Image Royal Mail says its pay and pension offers are industry-leading
Melinda Barton | 13 October, 2017, 16:20

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) had planned a 48-hour strike, scheduled to start on 19 October.

Royal Mail said: "We are very committed to working closely with the CWU in order to reach agreement as a matter of priority".

It would have been the first national strike since Royal Mail was privatised four years ago.

The CWU has accused Royal Mail of carrying out a "relentless" programme of cost-cutting to maximise short-term profits and shareholder returns.

"But sooner rather than later Royal Mail Group will have to confront the harsh reality that they are completely out of touch with the views of its workforce", CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said. The vote was a test for the union after the introduction of the Trade Union Act, which requires strike ballots to have a 50 per cent turnout. The company is taking legal action to stop them.

"As previously stated, we believe any strike action before the dispute resolution procedures have been followed would be unlawful strike action".

In Swindon and the surrounding area, more than 2,600 postal workers are expected to take part, while in the Bath area around 600 could go on strike.

Afterwards the union said it was "extremely disappointed" at the ruling and claimed that strike action was inevitable without a major change in position by the company.

The Labour MP Gill Furniss pledged her support for the union, telling the protest: "Despite the draconian laws imposed on workers, the CWU well surpassed the thresholds and sent a clear message to the company".

"Royal Mail notes that, in a ballot in 2014 on all the provisions of the Agenda for Growth agreement including the dispute resolution procedures, 94.5% of CWU members that cast their votes voted "Yes".

Royal Mail said it would now begin the process of external mediation, which is likely to take at least until the end of the year to complete.

"We want an agreement and will comply with the injunction to undertake further external mediation".

Royal Mail wrote to the CWU last Friday (6 October) invoking the legally binding mediation process under the dispute resolution procedures in the Agenda for Growth and requesting the CWU withdraw its notification of industrial action and commit to following procedure.