Royal Mail trucks

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has said a 24-hour strike at Royal Mail and Parcelforce will take place on Monday 4 November if an agreement is not reached over pay, job security, and terms and conditions.

It follows the result of a ballot of Royal Mail workers yesterday (16 October) which saw 78% of union members vote to strike, on a turnout of 63%.

The CWU is also holding another ballot that it hopes will enable Royal Mail workers to boycott competitors’ final mile deliveries. Earlier this year, Royal Mail said it considered refusal to handle other carriers’ deliveries “unlawful”.

CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: “On top of a strike, the union will seek a mandate from members to carry out the boycott of competitors’ mail.  In law, this needs a separate ballot and we will commence the procedures for this at the earliest opportunity.”

“Royal Mail needs to reach an agreement with us now and avoid the consequences of these two types of action from postal workers,” he added.

The CWU is allowing the post and parcel operator two weeks to reach an agreement with the union. If not reached, it will stage a day of “all-out strike action”, with further action being considered.

Royal Mail claimed that, when employees who are not members of the union are considered, only 40% of its workforce have voted to strike.

It said in a statement: "Any industrial action, or the possibility of disruption, is damaging to our business, especially in the run up to Christmas, our busiest time. We will do all that we can to protect our business and minimise the impact of any industrial action on our customers’ mail."

Helen Hall, legal director at law firm DLA Piper said, in the event of a strike, Royal Mail will not be permitted to use agency workers to fill gaps in deliveries.

“Employers are not permitted to use agency workers to cover the roles of striking workers, or to 'back fill' workers who have been moved to other roles to cover striking workers,” she said.