Communications Workers Union members have voted 4-1 in favour of strike action at Royal Mail, with the first walk-out pencilled in for Monday November 4, unless postal workers’ grievances can be resolved.
The strike has already been condemned by the DMA, amid claims it could lead to job cuts in many DM businesses.
If talks do not reach an agreement and settle fears over workers’ current terms and conditions, CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said the union would hold another ballot over boycotting final mile deliveries from private operators.
Welcoming the result, Ward added: “We are very pleased that postal workers have shown they care far more about their long-term future rather than the debacle of people scrabbling around to make money on shares and faceless investors.”
The move comes despite Government attempts to choke off a strike by handing out shares to postal workers; a plan, it hoped, would make them less likely to vote for industrial action.
However, despite the latest figures showing only 386 employees out of a total of 150,000 opted out, this does not appear to have prevented the rest from voting for a walk-out. A recent union poll claimed 96% of postal workers are against privatisation.
Royal Mail has also offered a £300 bonus to any of its staff who cross the picket line for what will be the first strike action since 2009. Chief executive Moya Greene wrote to all employees earlier this week to offer the sum if they continue working while colleagues are out on strike.
DMA executive director Chris Combemale said: “If the CWU decides to press ahead with industrial action then it will have a severe financial impact on the tens of thousands of companies, charities and people that depend on the postal service every day. The UK economy is only just emerging from recession and we cannot afford any further impediment to its recovery. The build-up to Christmas is a critical period that typically accounts for a significant proportion of businesses’ annual revenues and charities’ donations. People who rely on Royal Mail to deliver billions of pounds of goods ordered online would have their festive season disrupted, and loss of trade would lead to job cuts in many companies across the economy.
“Commercial users account for the biggest percentage of Royal Mail’s turnover. Any disruption to service would quickly lead businesses to take their custom elsewhere, which is an outcome that would not benefit the postal workers that CWU represents.”
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