CWU vote 78% in favour of Royal Mail strike

So unsurprisingly after the government rushed through the Royal Mail sale, the CWU have voted in favour of strike action. Probably their only disappointment is that it’s too late to strike in protest at privatisation so it’s now all about job security.

Royal Mail Strike 677

On a 63% turnout 78% voted in favour of striking and unless Royal Mail and the CWU come to an agreement the first of the strike days will be Monday the 4th of November.

What’s more worrying is that industrial action won’t stop there, the CWU will hold a new ballot to impost a boycott of competitors’ mail. That means if you ship with the likes of UKMail or TNTPost it’s possible your items won’t be delivered in the run up to Christmas.

Speaking to retailers at today’s Internet Retailing Conference, those who use the likes of Metapack are least concerned with comments like “I’ll just switch to Yodel for the day”. Of course that’ll probably cost more and, if strikes are ongoing, using alternatives will start to bite into the bottom line.

The CWU are calling for a “long term” agreement to include “no further breakup of the company, no franchising of individual offices or delivery rounds, no introduction of a cheaper workforce on two-tier terms and conditions and no part time industry“. The aim is to prevent Royal Mail from entering “the race to the bottom and replicate the employment practices and service standards of their competitors”.

Sounds pretty reasonable on the face of it, but the big question is what’s “long term”? Royal Mail say that they’ve already offered the CWU “a three year legally-binding and enforceable contract”. They’ve also offered a sop in the form of a £300 bonus to employees who don’t strike in the run up to Christmas.

Royal Mail also point out that that with a 63% turnout, a majority of the union membership (51%) chose to vote against strike action or abstain.

What’s really needed now is for the CWU and Royal Mail to sit down together, realise that the Royal Mail is no longer a government run operation and bang some heads together before strikes take place. Strike action in itself will be incredibly damaging to Royal Mail, every time they strike retailers swing into action with their contingency plans and some never return their business to Royal Mail.

Today the Royal Mail share price dropped from it’s high of £4.89 to close at £4.75 with a low during the day of £4.66.