CWU reps to decide on national strike ballot – as all 371 Crown Post Offices strike on Monday

Postal workers on the 500,000-strong TUC march in 2011. They have consistently fought Royal Mail privatisation and are ready for more action
Postal workers on the 500,000-strong TUC march in 2011. They have consistently fought Royal Mail privatisation and are ready for more action

COMMUNICATION Workers Union (CWU) reps from Royal Mail workplaces across the UK will meet next week to decide on actions to protect postal jobs and services, including whether to hold a national strike ballot of all Royal Mail workers.

The two-day policy forum takes place at Logan Hall, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1, on Wednesday 31st July and Thursday 1st August.

Some sessions will be closed but media is welcome to attend the Forum. The Thursday morning session and vote on whether to hold a national strike ballot will be open to journalists.

The strike ballot debate will be heard from 9.30am on Thursday morning.

If passed, the CWU will then set out a timetable to hold a ballot of 115,000 members across Royal Mail Group (excludes Parcelforce and the Post Office).

Around 500 reps will debate a range of issues, including securing job protections in Royal Mail, alternative business models to privatisation, changes to pensions, and workplace pressure.

Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said yesterday: ‘UK postal services are facing unprecedented change and threats. We will always embrace innovation and changes in the industry, but only on terms which maintain decent jobs and protect quality services.

‘This policy forum is all about anticipating what may lie around the corner and how CWU can react to protect the interests of our members and the customers they serve in the increasingly changing world of postal services.’

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: ‘We want to secure the best possible protections for our members’ jobs and we will stop at nothing to ensure that their future, and that of the UK’s postal services, are protected.

‘The offer on job protection made by Royal Mail earlier this month wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

‘Patience is wearing thin and unless we can secure robust protections for jobs, pay and terms and conditions soon, we are asking our reps to endorse a policy of holding a national industrial action ballot no later than September.’

• Staff in the country’s network of 371 Crown post offices will take a ninth round of strike action on Monday in a dispute over closures, jobs, and pay. This is a full day strike affecting up to 4,000 staff across the crown office network.

Dave Ward said: ‘It’s becoming ever clearer that the Post Office is obsessed with cost cutting, closing Post Offices and slashing jobs and local services.

‘This is being done against the wishes of customers and communities and with no political mandate. It is a shocking robbery of local services and misuse of public money – with £15.4m paid out in bonuses to senior managers while front-line staff face job losses and pay freezes.’

The Post Office wants to close and/or franchise 75 Crown offices, 20 per cent of the network, and cut up to 1,500 jobs.

Staff at Crown Post Offices have not had a pay rise since April 2011 while all other staff represented by CWU in the Post Office have had two pay rises totalling 6.75 per cent in this same period while head office managers shared a bonus pot of £15.4m.