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CWU win record ‘Yes’ vote for postal strike by Royal Mail workers

By Chris Dawson October 15, 2019 - 4:02 pm

After 100 volunteers called around 25,000 Postal Workers in a ‘National Call Out The Vote Phonebank’ day earlier this month, CWU workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of national postal strike action.

With a yes vote of 97.1% following a ballot of roughly 110,000 UK postal workers. This result represents the largest yes vote for national industrial action since the passing of the Trade union Act 2016. This result is also compounded by the large turnout of members, with 75.9% taking part in this ballot, smashing through the anti-trade union threshold rules passed in the same 2016 Act. The Act determines that a majority of those balloted must have returned their ballot paper, with the high threshold usually blocking trade unions from taking industrial action. The CWU previously beat the threshold in 2017, and has now done so for second time. The CWU is the only trade union in the UK to have passed the threshold.

“Just over one year ago the Royal Mail Group Board and the CWU agreed a blue print agreement for the future, a progressive agreement that included an historic pension solution, a mutual interest driven relationship and a joint vision for a successful postal service with social aims.

Today the new RMG leadership are breaking that agreement. Our members take honour seriously and have voted to fight for that agreement against those who now seek to break up the great British Postal service in the interest of fast track profit and greed. Integrity and pride still matters and we will not stand aside and see what we have spent our working lives building destroyed.”
– Terry Pullinger, Deputy General Secretary (Postal), CWU

The result is unprecedented in recent times, spelling disaster for the nation and in particular Royal Mail with the very real threat of a Christmas Post Strike. The vote for striking follows accusations that new Royal Mail CEO Rico Back has ripped up the agreement signed just a year ago with the CWU. They accuse Royal Mail of wanting to break up the company and scrap the Universal Service Obligation which mandates letters must be delivered 6 days a week for the same price to every household in the nation.

In turn, Royal Mail claim to be abiding by the agreement pointing to two pay rises and a cut in the working week by an hour.

“A ballot result for industrial action does not necessarily mean there will be industrial action. We are still in mediation with the CWU. Under our Dispute Resolution Procedure, set out in the Agenda for Growth, we are committed to reaching a resolution. No industrial action can be taken, and formal notification of industrial action cannot be given, before the conclusion of the Dispute Resolution Procedure.”
– Royal Mail

It’s easy to see why a postal strike would be disastrous for Royal Mail, they face increasing competition from couriers and with Amazon Shipping just launched with sub £2 prices this is the worst possible time for industrial action. Posties are naturally more concerned about their own pay and conditions, and for the nation a prolonged strike could quite well be the harbinger of an end to the Universal Postal Service even though that’s what it’s supposed to protect – the more money Royal Mail bleeds the more likely they are to be broken up with the profitable parcels business split from the letters business that it supports.

“This result sends a clear message to Royal Mail Group – Our members will not stand by as you rip up their terms and conditions and destroy the service they give to the public and businesses of the UK.

We would urge Royal Mail Group to now enter serious negotiations with this union. We also call on the public to get behind this dispute and your postal workers. We are very proud of our members today. They have stood by their union in record numbers and given hope to workers across the nation.”
– Dave Ward, General Secretary, CWU

Royal Mail are insisting on the mandatory mediation prior to any strikes taking place, but this does open the door to a postal strike in the very near future if the two sides can’t come to an agreement.

  • Lee Pearce
    1 month ago

    Royal mail lost all my International mail a few years ago, and two weeks ago, we moved to Amazon Logistics for a majority of our UK mail.

    This was in some part due to the ballot being called by RM workers.

    The regular postie who picked up today, commented on the few sacks of mail we had for him today compared to normal.

    Once you take the leap to move away, its hard to find a reason to come back when there are the threats of strike action on the horizon.

  • James
    1 month ago

    Lee – after reading about this I too am considering Amazon logistics.

    They’ve offered us a reasonable rate but had no reason to consider a move until this happened.

    What are they like?

    • LEE PEARCE
      1 month ago

      James.

      We find its ok.

      The only issue for us is the drivers can appear anytime between 2.30 & 5.30, so there is no regular pick up time.

      They scan everything at pick up and so on a Monday, this can take a while.

      No issues though that would make me change back.

      Regards

      Lee

  • 1 month ago

    Royal Mail lost our parcels about 4 years ago. We only have Large Letters that go with Royal Mail now. Does anybody know of an alternative for Large Letters as this needs addressing if the strike action takes place.

    • Jim
      1 month ago

      Says it all really
      Most of us are inconvenienced by this
      Though not panicked
      CWU please take note
      Your lemmings jumping off the cliff

  • SAM
    1 month ago

    RMG will never evolve to many legacy issues and the leadership has been poor and never capitalised on the boom in online, still you get the same old issues. If they are nationalised by labour they will have had it also as the staff down tools even more often. It all plays into Amazon’s hands
    Plus ANOTHER price hike today with there surcharges for overseas and using Brexit as the normal excuse.
    Am glad were going digital and won’t need them as much soon and can be done with all couriers
    RMG have to much of a monopoly in the UK and get away with being substandard for way to long .
    Am all for improving workers rights but the root issues is the way society is being run for the few at the top and workers everywhere are being exploited by Fat cat CEOs and multinationals.

  • jim
    1 month ago

    Amazon will be gloating at
    the ready made trained and experienced delivery staff
    available for their UK logistics enterprise

  • Dave
    1 month ago

    In today’s market for deliveries a strike is not the best option. I still use Royal Mail for large letters, but small parcel upwards it is open from Hermes to big players like FedEx and UPS, and who does the best deal. There are lots of brokerage firms for the smaller seller to use and get decent discounts, Interparcel, Parcel2Go etc etc. And Hermes now do a large letter rate service too I understand, though I have not used it.

    That said, we do need the Royal Mail, their international small parcel rate up to 2KG is nigh on untouchable by the other firms and domestically sending a 1st class letter for 70p from one end of the country to the other or to Jersey / CI’s etc is a very good deal and only possible if the majority of that mail is with one company; ie if they end up breaking the Royal Mail into pieces the costs of all the services will undoubtedly go up

  • Toby
    1 month ago

    Sadly the industry is moving and changing extremely fast… if you don’t keep up you become irrelvent. This kind of highlights all that is wrong with nationalised industries… ( as RM once was). When nationalised they can just carry on working as they did 100 years ago. No need to make money, invest or meet new demands… the tax payer will just keep ploughing money in to keep them going. No one has to answer to anyone or any change.
    Royal mail is trying to catch up with the rest of the industry and it is painful, no one doubts that. However unlike 20 years ago, they are not alone in the service they provide. the money is in parcles not letters anymore, and when it comes to parcels they are so far behind. Now that the others are moving in to the areas of large letters etc…. well it is time to get your skates on.
    I have no idea what has been back tracked on…. but i know that strikes at peak time, when businesses are struggling, will drive many more away to other businesses. Better to pay alittle more and have certainty, then savea few pennies and then find you no longer have customers.

  • Jake
    1 month ago

    Royal Mail are so far behind on delivering parcels? They deliver more parcels than any other courier get real !!!

  • Andrea
    3 weeks ago

    I’m sorry I’ve heard enough about amazon just remember one thing royal mail are the only company that deliver to every address in the UK amazon don’t plus who do you think delivers for Amazon when the demand for orders of Amazon is high especially Christmas because they can’t cope Yes ROYAL MAIL FUNNY ENOUGH so when everyone on here has finished running a good company into the ground I would just stop and have a little think !!!!

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