Post service hit as union to stage 24-hour walk-out

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ROYAL Mail workers in Wigan will join colleagues across the country taking industrial action over concerns about terms and conditions.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) voted four to one in favour of the strike in November.

The newly privatised Royal Mail this week gave each full-time staff 725 shares, worth more than £3,500 at Tuesday’s closing price, although they cannot be sold for three years as part of the deal.

The union opposed the privatisation fearing it would lead to reduced conditions and services.

CWU deputy secretary Dave Ward said: “Postal workers have spoken very clearly that they care about their jobs, terms and conditions far more than they care about shares.

“The stakes have become much higher for postal workers since privatisation, making this ballot more important than ever.

“Postal workers will not be the people who pay for the profits of private operators and faceless shareholders.”

Members of the CWU voted 78 per cent in favour - with a turnout of 63 per cent of their 115,000 members - in a move to “protect their jobs, terms and conditions and secure a pay rise”.

The news comes in a week when members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) are gearing up for a second strike action this weekend.

Firefighters across the country will stage a five-hour strike in a dispute over pensions.

A four-hour strike took place last month.

The post workers’ strike, a first nationally for four years, will take place on Monday November 4.

The CWU will now conduct a second ballot asking for support for non-strike action to boycott competitors’ mail which it delivers on their behalf.

The union represents staff in Royal Mail Group working in roles such as delivery people, sorting staff, drivers, administration and back office roles.

The Direct Marketing Association, which represents the advertising mail industry, accounting for £1bn of Royal Mail’s turnover, said the strike will have a “severe” financial impact on tens of thousands of companies, charities and others who use the service.