Royal Mail strike: Christmas postal walkout looms as workers vote to back industrial action

Staff say company bosses have reneged on a deal reached last year to raise pay and reform pensions

Ben Chapman@b_c_chapman
Tuesday 15 October 2019 16:16
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More than 97 per cent of votes backed strike action on a turnout of 76 per cent.
More than 97 per cent of votes backed strike action on a turnout of 76 per cent.

Royal Mail workers have voted overwhelmingly to strike in a dispute over working conditions that threatens to impact postal services in the busy run-up to Christmas.

More than 97 per cent of votes backed strike action on a turnout of 76 per cent. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said Royal Mail is failing to honour an agreement reached last year to raise pay and reform pensions. The deal also included plans to reduce the working week and improve job security.

Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary of the CWU,​ accused Royal Mail bosses of breaking a progressive agreement for a successful postal service with “social aims”.

He added: “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.”

Reacting to the strike vote, Jeremy Corbyn called the Royal Mail a “Tory-Lib Dem privatisation failure”.

The Labour leader tweeted: “Its sell-off led to shareholders creaming profits off the top while running down the service.”

Union bosses hailed the result as the biggest vote in favour of national industrial action since the passing of the Trade Union Act in 2016 which imposed new restrictions on balloting for strikes.

The CWU said the prospect of the first national postal strike in a decade now “looms large”.

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A mediation process already in place ends on Friday, then there are three weeks before a “parting of the waves”.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “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.”

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