Postal workers have been forced to call off a two-day strike that was set to take place later this month after a legal challenge by Royal Mail. The Communications Workers Union (CWU), which represents most postal workers in the UK, wrote in a newsletter to its members that laws "heavily weighted against working people" have forced them to call off the strikes planned for February 16 and 17.
In a statement, CWU general secretary Dave Ward issued a rallying call on Monday in response to a “blatant effort to demoralise our members and discredit the union by the senior management of Royal Mail”. The union did not specify the details of the challenge by Royal Mail, but said it does have lawyers ready to defend their position in court.
The union added: "Given the laws in this country are heavily weighted against working people, the risks of losing in court may potentially impact on the re-ballot - we simply cannot allow this to happen.”
Ward said in a statement on the CWU website that the “focus now, and the best way to respond to this development, is that the whole union focuses its efforts on maximising the YES vote and turnout in the live re-ballot”.
“We cannot allow Royal Mail Group’s blatant efforts to demoralise our members and discredit the union to distract from the reality that the resolution to this long-running dispute will be determined and settled by the outcome of the current national ballot”, he added.
Postal workers strike - what next?
The CWU has been in dispute with Royal Mail over pay, jobs and conditions since autumn 2022. The union said it will resume talks with the Royal Mail Group but issued a warning that they will significantly step up their programme of strike action if talks fail.
The current strike mandate runs out on February 17, and CWU members are currently being balloted on whether to extend strike action for another six months. Union leaders say winning a yes in the next ballot has to be the absolute focus and that they will announce a formal strike fund for its members shortly.
Ward said in a direct message to all branches, reps, activists and members: “Please take every opportunity over the next few days to remind your work colleagues and fellow members to vote in this ballot and to vote YES. The best way to show to the company that we are not prepared to be bullied into submission is to return the biggest possible YES vote on the highest possible turnout.”