Royal Mail

Royal Mail

As reported by MT earlier this week, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has today confirmed it will ballot members for industrial action over a host of issues including pensions at Royal Mail.

Terry Pullinger, CWU deputy general secretary (postal), said: “Talks have been taking place since April 2016, but the sense of shared purpose has drifted as privatisation has evolved.

“Quite frankly, three years or more into privatisation, we are seeing its promises shattered as the company has deserted the mutual interest approach to one of minimising cost and maximizing shareholder return.

“This has led to actual and intended attacks on our members’ pensions, terms and conditions and ways of working,” he said.

He added: “The conventional wisdom of more insecure employment models, inadequate DC pension arrangements and gig economy labour practices are influencing the company’s strategic thinking, which is in direct conflict to the agreements we have in place.

“Our dispute is not only about protecting our members but also protecting a great public service and national institution – the Royal Mail Group – which should never have been privatised.

The CWU said the decision had not been taken lightly and it remained open for further talks. The ballot will begin on 14 September.

Dave Ward, CWU general secretary, said: "Postal workers are under relentless pressure to work faster, harder and cheaper. This has nothing to do with driving growth and innovation, it's all about the tired old thinking of privatisation and asset striping.”

Speaking earlier this week about the issue, The Royal Mail said in a statement: “We believe there are no grounds for industrial action. Any potential ballot in the future does not mean there will be industrial action. Industrial action – or the threat of it – undermines the trust of our customers.

“Under its proposals, as part of the ongoing negotiations, Royal Mail would continue to provide the best pay and terms and conditions in the industry. There would be no change to our core terms and conditions, such as sick pay, holiday pay and our commitment to permanent employment for the vast majority of the workforce.”

In a statement today it confirmed it had received formal notice from the CWU of its intention to call a ballot for industrial action "over pensions, Royal Mail pipeline, shorter working week, our legally binding agreement and pay".

"We remain committed to reaching a negotiated agreement with the CWU on pay and pensions, and other issues we have been discussing. A ballot does not necessarily mean there will be industrial action," it said.