Communications Union approves first Royal Mail strikes since 2009

Royal Mail LogoThe prospect of strike action by Royal Mail workers looks ever more likely. Photo Credit Ross Holdway.

The result of the vote saw a clear message from union members in which 97.1% of Royal Mail members and 94.7% of Parcel Force workers voted for strike action.

But in spite of the huge majority of workers voting for industrial action, Royal Mail says a strike may not go ahead.

“Fight for your lives”

This comes after calls in August to “fight for your lives” by the deputy general secretary of CWU Terry Pullinger, after what they say is a consistent decline in working standards and broken promises regarding workers’ pensions since the RMG was privatised in 2013.

A spokesperson for the Royal Mail said: “A ballot result for industrial action does not necessarily mean there will be industrial action. We are still in mediation with the CWU.”

Royal Mail workers and CWU members strike against Royal Mail in 2009. The last time a strike took place. Photo Credit Roger Blackwell flickr.

Hopes of a resolution

“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.”

However, in a statement the CWU said: “The new RMG leadership are breaking our 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.”

Pressure coming down from the top

A postman who spoke to LeedsHacks but wished to remain anonymous said about the strikes: “Of course, I support them. There’s been a lot of bullying and harassment in the Royal Mail, ever since the privatisation.

“They’ve hit the pensions, they’ve hit everything really. It’s pressure from the top pushing it down.

“Pressuring you into overtime when you don’t want to do it, working longer hours with little notice and if you say you can’t do it to go and pick up your children and things like that there is even more pressure. People aren’t happy.”

The CWU general secretary Dave Ward echoed these words in a statement: “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.”

Royal Mail hope to resolve the situation without any action being taken by the CWU, however. Details of any communication between RMG and CWU are yet to be revealed.

Royal Mail did say in a statement that ” Royal Mail wants to transform to meet our customers’ changing needs as we post fewer letters and receive more parcels.

“Working together at pace, the transformation is about ensuring a more sustainable Company, a fairer working environment, the best terms and conditions in our industry and a contemporary Universal Service.”

As negotiations continue, the CWU hopes that the strong turnout from members calling for strike action will send a strong and resolute message to Royal Mail and that it will make a difference.

If an agreement isn’t reached, according to the CWU, ” the prospect of the first national postal strike in a decade now looms large.”

About the Author

Joe Cook
Joe Cook is a writer and reporter for LeedsHacks.

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