Royal Mail and CWU extend negotiation time and delay strikes

CWU Royal MailThe Royal Mail and CWU announced that they had called off the strike action planned for the 4th of November and set today, 13th November as a dead line for talks. Royal Mail agreed to extend the legal validity of the current industrial action ballot until Wednesday the 20th November 2013 so that if the talks didn’t reach a satisfactory conclusion the CWU wouldn’t have to hold a fresh ballot for striking.

Today’s the deadline and Royal Mail and the CWU just issued this joint statement:

Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (Title: CWU Description: Communication Workers Union – Represents 250,000 people in postal, telecommunications and finanical services industries in the UK CWU) have made significant progress in current talks on legal protections, industrial stability and pay. On this basis, both parties have agreed to a further extension of the legal validity of the current industrial action ballot until 27th November 2013 to allow the time to conclude the discussions.

This is unprecedented in Royal Mail/CWU relations, it looks like both sides really are committed to reaching a mutually beneficial working relationship and whilst the strike ballot validity has been extended I’ve never known the CWU appear so keen to avoid industrial action and reach an agreement instead.

I have to say I’m massively impressed with the Union, they not been on a Royal Mail strike for four years, but it strikes used to be regular as clockwork every two years up until 2009. Great news for Royal Mail workers, Royal Mail themselves, the country as a whole and for the image of the CWU as a Union that’s fighting for their workers but wants to negotiate rather then strike. Something must also have changed at the Royal Mail for them to be compromising enough to give the CWU the hope of an agreement and to postpone strike action for a second time.

We’ve heard on the grapevine that one of the agreements Royal Mail wanted was a no strike promise. We understand that the CWU have flatly refused to budge on this point, but it does appear that there’s a genuine will to avoid strike action if at all possible.