POSTAL workers in Royal Mail yesterday voted by 4 to 1 (78%) in favour of strike action in a move to protect their jobs, terms and conditions and secure a pay rise.
CWU is allowing two weeks to reach an agreement but has also announced that strike action will take place on Monday 4th November if no agreement is concluded by that date.
This would be one day of all-out strike action, with further action under consideration.
The union is also announcing a new ballot that will enable postal workers to boycott competitors’ mail, to supplement the strike action.
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: ‘Postal workers have spoken very clearly that they care about their jobs, terms and conditions far more than they care about shares.
‘The stakes have become much higher for postal workers since privatisation making this ballot more important than ever.
‘Postal workers will not be the people who pay for the profits of private operators and faceless shareholders.
‘We have said from the beginning that we want an agreement and we still do.
‘The question now is whether this privatised Royal Mail still wants an agreement.
‘We have offered the company a two week period to reach an agreement and having already had many hours of negotiation, this is achievable if there is a will.
‘The clock is ticking for both sides and we need Royal Mail to work to reach agreement before this deadline.’
Ward continued to emphasise that there was to be no struggle against privatisation, which the union now completely accepted.
‘What we want is a groundbreaking, long-term, legally binding agreement that not only protects postal workers’ job security, pay and pensions – but will also determine the strategy, principles and values of how the Royal Mail Group will operate as a private entity.
‘This means there will be no further break-up of the company, no franchising of individual offices or delivery rounds, no introduction of a cheaper workforce on two-tier terms and conditions and no part-time industry.
‘It will mean – regardless of who owns Royal Mail – this company will not be able to enter the race to the bottom and replicate the employment practices and service standards of their competitors.’
At the same time as announcing a 24-hour strike, the CWU today has announced it will carry out a second ballot asking workers to support action less than strike action, to carry out a boycott of competitors’ mail.
Dave Ward added: ‘On top of a strike, the union will seek a mandate from members to carry out the boycott of competitors’ mail.
‘In law, this needs a separate ballot and we will commence the procedures for this at the earliest opportunity.
‘The boycott will be used to supplement strike action. Royal Mail needs to reach an agreement with us now and avoid the consequences of these two types of action from postal workers.’
The ballot result in full was: Turnout: 63% (71,913); Yes votes: 78% (56,339); No votes: 22% (15,624)