Royal Mail wins temporary block on strike with injunction

Terry Pullinger

Royal Mail has won a High Court injunction preventing next week's 48-hour strike by postal workers.

The vote was the first under the Government's controversial Trade Union Act, which was passed earlier this year and requires strike ballots to have a 50 per cent turnout - 73 per cent of the CWU's 110,000 members voted.

"But sooner rather than later Royal Mail Group will have to confront the harsh reality that they are completely out of touch with the views of its workforce", CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said.

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

The disagreement centres on the closure of Royal Mail's final salary pension scheme to new entrants, the terms of a replacement scheme, and also rows over pay and delivery office closures.

"We will now make contact with the CWU as a matter of urgency to begin the process of external mediation".

The ballot is part of a flurry of union activity this autumn as public sector and health workers discuss the possibility of industrial action. It subsequently filed an injunction on Monday with the High Court.

In a statement to the stock market on Thursday, Royal Mail said that the court's decision had confirmed that any strike action prior to completion of agreed dispute resolution procedures would be unlawful.

"We want an agreement and will comply with the injunction to undertake further external mediation". That means strike action in the run-up to the busy festive period now appears unlikely.

CWU disagreed, calling Royal Mail's legal challenge "underhanded" and "a deliberate attempt to misinterpret and use the agreement to stop postal workers exercising our right to strike".

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