A two-day postal strike scheduled for later this month has been called off, following a legal challenge by Royal Mail.
In a newsletter to members, The Communication Workers Union (CWU) blamed the cancellation of planned walkouts on February 16 and 17 on laws that are “heavily weighted against working people.”
The union did not detail the nature of the challenge but stressed lawyers “have advised that we could defend our position in court”.
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The letter says “given the laws in this country are heavily weighted against working people, the risks of losing in court may potentially impact on the re-ballot – we simply cannot allow this to happen”.
The union’s strike mandate expires on February 17, and members are currently voting on whether to hold strikes over for another six months in the bitter pay and conditions dispute.
The CWU said it received correspondence about the legal challenge over the weekend, describing it as “the latest in a long list of deliberate, sustained, and coordinated attacks” on its members.
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Union leaders stated winning a yes vote in the next ballot “has to be our absolute focus,” and that details of a “formal strike fund” to support workers who take industrial action will be announced soon.
The union said it will re-enter talks with Royal Mail Group this week, but warned that “if talks fail, we will significantly increase the programme of strike action.”
The CWU has been locked in a dispute with Royal Mail since the autumn, with members staging 18 days of strikes in the second half of 2022 over pay, jobs, and conditions.
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Members have been fighting modernisation plans that they claim will “spell the end” of Royal Mail.
They want a better pay package than the “best and final” nine percent offer they rejected last year.
The conflict has grown increasingly bitter and personal, with company and union leaders at odds in a public battle for sympathy.
The CWU’s Dave Ward claims that Royal Mail is using a “punishment charter” to intimidate strikers and that union representatives have been suspended.
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Meanwhile, Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson has accused CWU members of “extraordinary behaviour,” claiming he has received allegations of racism, sexism, and violence on picket lines.
Mr. Thompson has been summoned to parliament for further questioning following a tough session session before the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Committee last month.
The session revealed he received a £140,000 bonus and has a salary of £500,000 at a time when the company is losing around £1 million a day and is looking to making thousands of job cuts.
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He was summoned for a second appearance after the committee received evidence casting doubt on the veracity of statements he made about the company’s operations, particularly regarding the tracking of workers and whether parcels are prioritised over letters.
Royal Mail responded: “We welcome the opportunity to expand on any points on which the committee would like clarification, and share the steps we are taking to resolve this dispute and secure the long-term future of Royal Mail for our people and customers.”
Source: Sky News
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