Royal Mail lands an anti-union blow at the High Court

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CWU members marching to defend the service

ROYAL MAIL has won a legal battle against the CWU to prevent a postal strike over Xmas after the High Court backed its application for an injunction.

The decision averts the possibility of strikes in the run-up to the general election and Christmas.

Last month, 100,000 Royal Mail staff were balloted and voted to take action over job security and terms.

But Royal Mail argued that the ballot had ‘potential irregularities’ and was null and void.

Members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) voted by 97% in favour of a nationwide strike, saying the company had failed to adhere to an employment deal agreed last year.

Royal Mail denied this and said it had evidence of CWU members coming under pressure to vote ‘yes’ in the ballot.

This included, the company said, union members ‘being encouraged to open their ballot papers on site, mark them as “yes”, with their colleagues present and filming or photographing them doing so, before posting their ballots together at their workplace postboxes’.

Royal Mail said this amounted to a ‘de facto workplace ballot’, contrary to rules on industrial action, to maximise the turnout and the ‘yes’ vote.

Royal Mail’s procedures state that employees cannot open their mail at delivery offices without the prior authorisation of their manager.

But CWU lawyers argued there was no evidence of interference with the ballot and that ‘legitimate partisan campaigning’ by the union in favour of a ‘yes’ vote did not violate the rules.

The CWU previously said the result of the ballot, which was open between September 24 and October 15, represents the largest Yes vote for national industrial action since the passing of the Trade Union Act 2016.

CWU branches will be meeting to discuss what should be done next, after such an anti-union verdict.

The members may well consider that the Royal Mail may have won a legal battle but that the war continues.