Postal union hits back after Royal Mail says planned strikes unlawful

07 Oct 2017


The UK's largest postal union has countered Royal Mail claims that planned strikes later this month are unlawful.

Royal Mail had responded after the Communication Workers Union (CWU) revealed plans for a 48-hour walk out from 19 October.

Royal Mail referred to "legally-binding dispute resolution procedures" that warranted that the parties first enter into five weeks of arbitration before industrial action can commence.

However, in a short video issued to union members late on Thursday, deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said the response from Royal Mail had come as a "shock".

''As far as we're concerned, we've adhered to that agreement. We've exhausted that agreement," he said.

According to the CWU representatives from mediators firm Acas attended the months of previous negotiations and therefore satisfied the requirements of the dispute resolution procedures.

Pullinger continued, ''We believe that we have kept the talks going. These talks have been going on for over 18 months and if there was going to be some sort of external mediation process it should have been way before now. In fact, we have indeed used external mediation in these talks, which the business would have paid for as well.''

CWU members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action, with almost 90 per cent of those voting backing the move on a high turnout.

"Royal Mail requested that CWU withdraw its notification of industrial action and commit to following the dispute resolution procedures. If CWU does not withdraw its notice of strike action by 12 noon Monday October 9, Royal Mail will lodge an application with the High Court for an injunction to prevent industrial action," Royal Mail said.

The dispute concerns a proposed change to Royal Mail pensions, which it said should help rein in its ballooning deficit.

Royal  Mail has warned that its top-up payment obligation would more than double to £1.26 billion next year in case of no pension reform.

Royal Mail plans to move its members from the current final salary scheme to a new form of defined benefit scheme, which will affect new members starting April next year.

Ahead of the statement yesterday, the CWU claimed Royal Mail had failed to ''engage seriously'' with its representatives over pay, working hours and future job security.

According to the CWU's plans members will walk out at 11:00 am on 19 October after voting massively in favour of taking industrial action.

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