Royal Mail wins injunction against CWU strikes

The postal strike on October 19 and 20 has been called off
Credit
Andrew Milligan

Royal Mail PLC on Thursday secured a court injunction over a potential industrial action announced by a union representing its employees.

Around 110,000 members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) were set to walk out from 19 October in what would have been the first national postal strike since Royal Mail was privatised in 2013.

The CWU has accused Royal Mail of carrying out a "relentless" programme of cost-cutting to maximise short-term profits and shareholder returns.

Union leaders say they have been trying to find a solution to the impasse for 18 months.

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The company has written to the CWU invoking a "legally binding external mediation process", and reiterating that any industrial action would be unlawful.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said last week that the dispute was a "watershed" moment that would determine not only members' pensions, jobs and pay but also the future of the UK's postal service. The last mass industrial action among postal workers was in 2009. It subsequently filed an injunction on Monday with the High Court. The judged ruled that pressing ahead with the strike without following the dispute resolution procedures, which include involving an external party to mediate on talks, would be unlawful.

But a High Court judge supported Royal Mail's case that the CWU was breaking its contract by calling a strike before outside mediation, which began on 5 October, is completed.

"We want an agreement and will comply with the injunction to undertake further external mediation". The first step is selecting a mediator acceptable to Royal Mail and the CWU from a panel that was agreed by both parties under the Agenda for Growth.

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