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Interim injunction means no immediate Royal Mail Strikes

By Chris Dawson November 13, 2019 - 7:04 pm

Royal Mail won an interim injunction in the High Court this Wednesday, removing the threat of the CWU calling immediate Royal Mail strikes over Black Friday and in the run up to Christmas.

The CWU executive are spitting feathers at the decision calling it not only a massive injustice to CWU members but also an injustice to every worker in the country. Blaming the establishment for stacking the odds in favour of businesses and making it harder to win a strike ballot in recent years than it has been in the past, their message to Rico Back and the Royal Mail Board is that they cannot face away from the reality that their victory in court will be short lived. You can read the full CWU statement here.

The injunction focuses on Royal Mail workers intercepting their post at delivery offices and completing ballot en masse, often photographing or filming themselves doing so. This, said the courts, was exerting undue influence on posties who should have been able to quietly consider the ballot and carry out their vote in the peace of their own homes. You can read the full Royal Mail statement here.

From the CWU perspective, they point out that not a one single person out of 110,000 who were balloted complained to the independent scrutineers that their right to vote was interfered with. They view it as having carried out a hugely successful campaign with a resounding ‘Yes’ vote for strike action. One might even think that solidarity of the workers wanting to vote together was merely a sign of how committed to strike action they were.

From the Royal Mail perspective, it was viewed as clear evidence of planned and orchestrated breaches by CWU officials of their legal obligations. If the vote wasn’t carried out according to the rules and people felt pressured to vote in favour of industrial action that that’s not fair.

What really happens is what happens next. CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said “CWU members will be and are extremely angry and bitterly disappointed that one judge has granted Royal Mail an injunction to invalidate our ballot for strike action”. and that will guide their future actions. The are considering appealing the injunction, re-balloting for a strike mandate and are likely to call on members to make lives as awkward as possible for the Royal Mail.

Whilst official strikes can’t be called, workers can implement work to rule. This could include anything from refusing overtime, implementing all health and safety procedures no matter how minor, refusing to delivery if their hand held batteries run out and a host of other actions.

It is very likely that CWU members will do everything in their power to carry on collecting mail and parcels and getting them into the network with the aim of then delaying the post and clogging up the entire network. As we’re approaching the busiest time of the year when the postal network is strained to the maximum, it will be easy for disgruntled post workers to implement a go slow work to rule and simply allow the expected deluge of parcels to arrive and take their time sorting and delivering it.

A work to rule and parcels and letters clogging up mail centres could be a worse problem for Royal Mail than a couple of days strike action would have been. It also solves nothing as if the CWU re-ballots members, having voted ‘Yes’ once and having their mandate summarily dismissed as invalid isn’t likely to do much to persuade many to vote differently the second time around. If the CWU win a second ballot, although that probably delays strike action until the New Year, it would be no surprise to see workers down tools for Royal Mail Strikes lasting a week at a time rather than just a couple of days.

  • Mac
    4 weeks ago

    They can of course work to rule, go slow etc.
    Announcing it just makes it easy for businesses to look for companies that can deliver and sign contracts with them.
    Don’t need to have so many staff when they hand a chunk of market share to competitors. By choice.
    Expect complaints and threat of strike action next year when their workload reduces.

  • SAM
    4 weeks ago

    I think this is going to be a very demanding Peak for a lot of business this year. It does not feel good.
    Watch the carnage of what is left on the high street when the cold light of day arrives in Jan/Feb….
    Am all for RMG workers being paid properly and treated properly, but this is a problem over most companies these days, poor working conditions and poor pay in the UK has become the norm 10 years of Tories.
    RMG posties start playing funny beggers with the post at Christmas will get them nothing but grief on the streets (people do not care these days they just want whatever it is now)….it will also just play into Amazons big greedy hands even more than it already does.
    Go on strike after Christmas at least let people enjoy a couple of stress free days before the idiots who come to power at that GE totally make a mess of things in 2020 and we are back to the Brexit roundabout.

    As a long term RMG shareholder I have seen my investment nearly half, but what does annoy me is the total inability of RMG to move with the times and evolve that company should by flying, in the age of e-commerce, and that network which they have total dominance over no real competition.

  • Mark
    4 weeks ago

    I though they were already on strike we have lost 4 parcels in the last 3 weeks and have a customer go to collect one that they attempted only to be told they had now lost it. Only then to be told it was sent to a different delivery office.

    While i am not sure what their actual grievances are i would think that with them losing market share across the board and smaller companies springing up only too keen to take over companies delivery needs they are playing with fire of maybe have a week off of strikes which could turn into a lifetime when the business goes pop.

    Mind you if Mr Corbyn gets in next month and nationalises all the business he says watch this space for strikes. break out the candles and matches for a summer of discontent.
    But we will be OK wont we. He promised 46 billion to the NHS, 200 billion to re-nationalise industry billions more for the poor a year off for having a baby. No gas boilers fitted in new builds so unemployed gas engineers. cars not allowed in city centres.
    Yippeee

    Looks like Yodel and Hermes will be clapping their hands with glee we had bad experiences with them yet it looks like they will get our business again by default

  • Nick
    4 weeks ago

    Because of the threats of strike we signed up for Amazon Shipping which provides a slightly cheaper 1 day fully tracked service for parcels up to 7kg than Royal Mail account holders are typically charged for a 2-3 day untracked delivery up to 2kg, and provides compensation for lost packages too!

    Royal Mail and therefore their employees will continue to decline in the face of competition like this.

    So far I am happy with Amazon Shipping and see no reason why I would put these parcels back through Royal Mail. We will shortly follow with large letters which are also next day tracked and cheaper than First Class untracked too.

    Due to Royal Mail strikers they will lose a growing share of £100k+ of shipments – how many job losses does that represent just from one fed up customer? Strikes just don’t pay off in the long run.

    • Stephen
      4 weeks ago

      do you have a link to details ? When I search “Amazon shipping” it just gives me details to sign up as a courier…

    • 4 weeks ago
    • Tom
      4 weeks ago

      It may be a small feature but the claims process is such a breeze, 2 clicks and claim is submitted, no excel sheets, no loooooong forms. Just simplicity. For that I give them an A*, my problem is we know how they play.

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