Wigan could be hit by postal strike after Royal Mail workers back industrial action in dispute
Wigan postal workers could be heading for the picket line after Royal Mail employees voted massively in favour of industrial action.
The threat of a strike in the run-up to Christmas has been raised as the workforce is embroiled in a major dispute with the company over job security and the terms and conditions of their employment.
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) backed action by 97 per cent in a huge turnout of almost 76 per cent.
The CWU confirmed the action, if it goes ahead, will involve everyone involved in delivering letters and parcels in Wigan and across the country.
The union said that Royal Mail is not sticking to an agreement reached last year covering a wide range of issues, including plans to reduce the working week, as well as job security.
Industrial relations at the company have worsened this year, with widespread unofficial strikes breaking out virtually every week.
Terry Pullinger, the CWU's deputy general secretary, said the union and its members were facing the "fight of our lives".
Royal Mail sent out a press statement saying the company was "very disappointed" the ballot for industrial action had gone ahead.
It also said strike action was not inevitable and mediation with the union was continuing. This view was echoed by senior CWU figures on national radio news programmes on Tuesday, who stressed the union wanted to reach an agreement.
The statement then read: " There are no grounds for industrial action. Industrial action - or the threat of it - is damaging for our business and undermines the trust of our customers.
"Royal Mail wants to transform to meet our customers’ changing needs as we post fewer letters and receive more parcels. Working together at pace, the transformation is about ensuring a more sustainable Company, a fairer working environment, the best terms and conditions in our industry and a contemporary Universal Service."
Staff in the Wigan delivery office last year staged an unplanned walk-out after a long-serving member of staff was dismissed.