The plan was first mooted late last year and a ballot among CWU members representing 160,000 Royal Mail employees has returned a unanimous vote in favour of the threat of a mail boycott “if Ofcom fails to protect the UK’s mail service”.
Final mile deliveries account for more half of all Royal Mail’s postal business, and the postal operator now has the freedom to set the fee for each item it delivers for rivals. The move has in part been sparked by TNT’s plans to expand its own mail delivery scheme, which started in April in the London postcodes of W1-16 and SW1.
The Dutch-owned company has since been granted permission for trial deliveries to EC and WC addresses in the City of London.
CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: “This vote demonstrates the rising concerns among CWU members regarding changes to the postal service affecting jobs, services and performance standards.
“Competition in the postal sector is not benefitting the public – prices are going up and the regulator is actively consulting on reducing services from six days a week to five or perhaps even less.”
He added: “Only big businesses with bulk mail contracts benefit from competition, yet we rarely see any evidence of them passing those price benefits onto their customers rather than just improving their own profits.
“Competition is being allowed on the basis of low-pay and unreliable job security in private companies. That will be a disaster for the sector if it continues. We will take this action to protect jobs and services if the regulator doesn’t fulfil its duty.”
The CWU has not yet revealed how the proposed boycott would work and has said it will publish further details in time for its annual conference next month.
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