Postal workers have voted to accept a deal to settle their long-running dispute with Royal Mail over pay and working practices.
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) voted by two to one to back proposals agreed between the union and Royal Mail at the beginning of last month.
Under the terms of the deal, staff will receive a 6.9 per cent pay rise over three years. Their working week will also be reduced from 40 hours to 39. In exchange, the union has accepted the modernisation plan that Royal Mail insists is crucial for its survival.
A series of strikes last October over job losses and working conditions disrupted mail deliveries all over the country. The CWU said that by 2013, modern machinery and operational methods would be introduced across the company and a "culture of co-operation" would see the CWU fully involved with the phasing in of each stage.
Royal Mail has guaranteed that full-time staff will make up at least three-quarters of its workforce. Postal workers will receive a 2 per cent pay increase this year, followed by a 1.4 per cent rise in 2011 and a 3.5 per cent rise in 2012.
Dave Ward, the deputy general secretary of the CWU, said: "This is a strong ballot result for a strong deal and we are delighted that our members have fully supported this hard-fought-for agreement. The deal recognises the importance of staff in successfully implementing change and rewarding people for the work. Job security was a major issue for us given the changes ahead."
Royal Mail said the agreement paved the way to continue the "much-needed" £2bn modernisation of its letters business, including the introduction of new automated machinery and delivery equipment.
Mark Higson, the managing director of Royal Mail Letters, added: "We are all now focused on getting on with the changes that will give Royal Mail a strong and successful future, and will protect the future of the universal service."Reuse content