CWU ballots Royal Mail and ParcelForce staff on strike action

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) will be balloting its 125,000 members who work for the Royal Mail and Parcelforce over the next few weeks. The result is expected on 3rd October. That means that the earliest day for possible industrial action, because a union must give 7 days notice of a strike, is October 10th.

It’s a real worry that we could see a serious of strikes in October and November (and perhaps longer) if the ballot backs action and that could be a real dampener on the vital Christmas ecommerce frenzy that so many sellers depend on.

Dave Ward, the CWU deputy general secretary, said: “We are dealing with a company that is preparing for privatisation with relish. While the union continues to fight privatisation we are also dealing with the potential realities for workers if there is a change of ownership.

“We are looking to reach a groundbreaking agreement on terms and conditions that sets unprecedented legally binding protection for workers in the event of a sale, and regardless of who owns the company.”

“Postal workers know franchising, breakup and sale of mail centres, distribution hubs and Parcelforce, along with the introduction of a new workforce on lower terms and conditions, are real threats in a race to the bottom with mail competitors for any new company.”

“We want Royal Mail and the government to put protections in place that are both meaningful and lasting.”

“Royal Mail continues to prepare for privatisation with relentless rounds of budget cuts in offices across the UK. There is no understanding that the pace of change can really only be led by how hard people can work, and CWU members are being driven to absorb absences, carry increasing amounts of mail and work harder than is possible in many cases.”

“We have reached breaking point, particularly in delivery offices, and the culture has to change.”

A government spokesperson from the Business Department said: “Industrial action is not necessary. It is disappointing that the CWU leadership has decided to ballot for strike action.

“They are standing between their members and a generous pay offer of 8.6% over three years, which is more than teachers, nurses and our armed forces, who have had pay increases capped at 1%.

“Royal Mail management are continuing to talk to CWU and we encourage both sides to resolve this dispute.

“Action taken by the CWU will not alter the government’s decision to sell shares in Royal Mail in this financial year.