Royal Mail goes to court to block pre-Christmas strike

Clock pointing towards a 'sell' signal

Clock pointing towards a 'sell' signal

Members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) last month voted by 97% in favour of a nationwide strike, saying the company had failed to adhere to an employment deal agreed previous year.

Last month members of the CWU backed action by 97% in a turnout of nearly 75%.

Royal Mail plc (LON: RMG) has announced that it will today make an application to the High Court for an interim order to injunct CWU with respect to its recent postal ballot of Royal Mail employees for industrial action.

They have claimed there are "potential irregularities in the ballot" which make the vote unlawful. They are the subject of separate ballot notices.

Royal Mail claimed having evidence that the union manipulated the vote, in particular, by making the workers open their ballot papers on site and instructing them to vote "yes" in presence of others while filming them in the process.

It later added: "Once again Royal Mail run to the courts rather than negotiate with our union. Alongside our application for an injunction, we will review whether any further action is required", the company said.

"This is particularly the case in relation to potential industrial action around the general election on 12 December 2019", Royal Mail said in a stock market announcement on Friday.

The CWU, in turn, refuted the claim that there were any irregularities with its ballot and confirmed that it would be represented at the hearing, which could take place as early as Tuesday. The general election is expected to break the deadlock. "We have also informed Ofcom", the company said in a statement.

In 2017, Royal Mail blocked a strike by the union, winning a High Court injunction preventing action during the crucial pre-Christmas delivery period.

CWU says the action is centred on job security and working conditions, claiming Royal Mail breached an agreement put forward in 2018 around reducing hours in the working week and plans to launch a separate parcels service.

Royal Mail's procedures state employees can not open their mail at delivery offices without the prior authorisation of their manager.

It would be the first national postal strike since thousands of postal workers went on strike in October https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-royalmail/second-wave-of-postal-strikes-starts-idUKTRE59R4DK20091029 2009, creating a massive backlog of undelivered letters and forcing Royal Mail to hire temporary staff to cope with the strike and the Christmas rush.

A strike could come at a time when Royal Mail faces the threat of renationalisation from the opposition Labour Party, which also plans to return utilities and train companies to public ownership.

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