Royal Mail expressed its disappointment today after members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) unanimously voted in favour of holding a national strike ballot this year.

In a CWU forum meeting this morning (1 August), around 500 reps voted to hold a strike ballot no later than September, unless the union and the postal operator can come to an agreement over job security and service.

A CWU members briefing said that despite taking legal advice not to hold a boycott of competitors’ mail, it will “now explore if a boycott could take place as part of a legal industrial action ballot”.

“Be assured the boycott remains on our agenda,” the document added.

The operator said: “Royal Mail operates in a very competitive market, especially in the parcels market. We recognise that customers have a choice and can move their business very quickly. We want to reach agreement with the CWU as soon as possible to give customers and employees continued stability.”

CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said efforts to come to an agreement with Royal Mail had not previously worked: “The current situation cannot go on. Postal workers are being squeezed in their workplaces, facing an uncertain future and changes to their pensions. There hasn't yet been a pay rise for staff this year despite healthy company profits of £403 million.”