CWU vote 78% in favour of Royal Mail strike

By Chris Dawson October 16, 2013 - 10:19 pm

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.

  • Hereford United fan
    4 years ago

    So what’s the best strategy. Based on last time I had decided not to post the day before the strike as that post was not processed and then seemed to be dealt with as and when they had time.

    I believe this is because they will always deal with post first that can still hit their delivery targets.

    With the strike being on a Monday do I post on Friday. In theory it will have been processed over the weekend and be on it’s way to the delivery offices. But will it then get held up there?

    Any one got any views?

    • 4 years ago

      Honestly all I ever did is ignore the one day strikes, post as normal and cross my fingers.

      However for more than one day I was using the lovely Annie, who is my local lady from myHermes. Was to be quite honest a pleasure not going to the Post Office.

      However that was four years ago way back in 2009 – Royal Mail haven’t striked since so maybe someone has some better ideas today?

    • TheShopkeeper
      4 years ago

      We ran experiments using customers who volunteered as guinea pigs 4 years ago sending them boxes of Maltesers – so small packet size – and we found it ok to post the day before a strike but not on the actual day of the strike. Some posted on the day got through quickly but the majority took 4 or more days. Everything was sent first class and we sent packages to half the postcode areas in the UK. It was a bit of fun but it gave us very good data which we luckily haven’t had to use for almost 4 years!

      It seemed to be all about Quality of Service targets as to how quickly mail got through. Anything posted the day before the strike is still subject to QoS targets and again the day after, the targets are only suspended the day of the strike. So 93% of first class mail posted the day before the strike must be delivered the day after the strike – effectively next day as a strike day doesn’t count – and 93% posted the day after has to be delivered the day after that.

      I’d really rather not have to be doing this dance though and hope the CWU and Royal Mail can sort this out.

    • Hereford United fan
      4 years ago

      That’s really interesting. Surely stuff posted the day before a strike has to be sorted and moved to delivery offices on the day of the strike so would be affected?

      I only post on week days so the stuff posted on Friday would have Saturday and Sunday to be processed.


    • 4 years ago

      I suspect that the easiest course of action will be to post as normal the previous Thursday and just about possibly Friday. But not to post Saturday but for all three days sales/postings to message the customer what you have done because of the strike. On the Tuesday after the strike on Monday to Post everything up to date. I would not risk posting on Saturday as it stands too much chance of getting itself stuck in some isolated corner of the sorting office.

    • 4 years ago

      Messaging customers will be essential, but hopefully eBay will also give protection from poor despatch time DSRs over any strike periods as they have in the past

    • TheShopkeeper
      4 years ago

      This strike is on a Monday so we’ll be posting on Friday. If it was any other weekday it would depend on whether the strike starts at 10pm or midnight. If it starts midnight most post will be sorted and through the Mail Centres by then, possibly not by 10pm though.

      Remember that even in London the latest collection is about 7pm so 5 hours is almost a whole day. Our mail for example, which goes to Gatwick, is processed and on its way by 8pm at the latest every night.

      As the strike is Monday anything first class posted on Friday should be delivered on Saturday anyway. Well, around 93% of it.

      You may remember this article in the Daily Hate a couple of years back which sheds light on what happens to anything posted on a Saturday…

  • Steve
    4 years ago

    Love to know what percentage of CWU members bought shares, were given them or otherwise profited from the floatation.

    Comforting to know as they hold their customers to ransom.

    • TheShopkeeper
      4 years ago

      Only 368 staff out of approx 155,000 refused shares.

      Capitalism is not dead!

  • Lee
    4 years ago

    After speaking to the guy who picks my mail up, I believe its the complete mis-trust between the two parties that is the issue.

    When management put forward proposals, they are not believed and so the strikes go ahead.

    When I asked about the shares, he told me that they are being held in trust and when its time to cash them in he believes they will not be passed over to him, which to me sounds illegal, the withholding of them, not the being held in trust bit, which to me sounds like the sensible thing as they can not be traded by the staff for 3 years.

    If many of the posties are like him, then I can see many more strikes ahead because of the apparent mis-trust.

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