Postal Strike Again Next Month Unless Deal Signed By 22nd

(Telegraph) – THE POSTAL SERVICE could grind to a halt because of fresh strikes as soon as next month unless a peace deal between unions and Royal Mail is signed in the next 10 days.

Union sources are giving warning that unless an agreement is signed by a jointly agreed deadline of January 22, further action could be expected with unions returning to “dispute mode” in the bitter row about pay and working practices.

National strikes could be called for as early as next month, without the need for a fresh ballot of postal workers. The overwhelming vote for a national strike among Communication Workers Union members from last September still stands

A series of rolling strikes last summer, culminating in several days of all-out national strikes in October brought the postal service to its knees, with more than 30million letters and parcels trapped in sorting offices and mail centres.

In early November, Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union agreed a truce to save the Christmas post from disruption.

Both sides then committed themselves to finding some middle ground in the bitter row about pay and working practices during this strike-free “period of calm”.

But there are fears that, if there is no written agreement by January 22, Royal Mail will push ahead with implementing its 2010 management plan, triggering a fresh bout of unrest.

Both sides said they were cautiously optimistic about the outcome. But the next 10 days are vital as both sides committed to paper the results of the talks over the past eight weeks, one source said.

The source told The Daily Telegraph: “Royal Mail want to move to their 2010 plan. If they go ahead and impose changes, there will be industrial action.” Another source described the talks as “painfully slow”.

Royal Mail’s decision to press ahead with the 2009 management plan last April, which recommended cuts of 10 per cent, without the agreement of the union, was the trigger for last year’s strikes, the worst for two years.

Teams of Royal Mail managers and union officials have been meeting at a series of London hotels over the past two months. The talks have been chaired by Roger Poole, a former chair of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission.

They have been led for the union by Dave Ward, the CWU’s deputy general secretary, and for Royal Mail by Mark Higson, managing director of Royal Mail’s letters business.

… (Telegraph, 09/03/2010) – Royal Mail deal sees junk limits abandoned

Postal Workers Suspend Strike Action

(Reuters) – POSTAL WORKERS said today they would suspend strike action until at least after Christmas under an interim agreement reached between unions and state-owned Royal Mail.

Brendan Barber, head of union umbrella group the TUC, told reporters that no definitive agreement had been reached to resolve a long-running row over jobs, pay and modernisation.

However, he said strike action had been suspended pending further efforts to settle the dispute and to prevent disruption of deliveries at the busiest time of the year.

‘The agreement provides for a period of calm, free of industrial action, to enable negotiations to be held over the next couple of months through to the end of the year to secure the longer-term agreements necessary on all aspects of modernisation of Royal Mail,’ Barber said.

‘The delivery of the terms of this agreement means that Royal Mail services will be free of any disruption up to and through the Christmas period,’ he said.

A third wave of national strikes was due to have taken place on Friday and Monday.

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson welcomed the news.

‘I hope very much indeed that we will not see further strikes,’ he told reporters.

‘I hope very much indeed that if there are issues that have got to be resolved, if there are wrinkles in the modernisation process, which is absolutely vital for Royal Mail, that these wrinkles will be smoothed out by discussion and negotiation without resorting to further strikes in the future.’

Royal Mail Strikes To Go Ahead

(Reuters) – NEGOTIATIONS FAILED TODAY to prevent a strike by postal workers this week and their union leaders said there will be further walkouts.

Thousands of staff working for the state-owned Royal Mail are due to walk out tomorrow and Friday in a row over pay, jobs and modernisation.

The action is expected to severely disrupt mail deliveries.

Negotiations between the company and the Communication Workers Union made progress but were undermined by senior Royal Mail bosses and Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, the union said.

‘Unfortunately the situation is the strikes will go ahead,’ said Dave Ward, the CWU’s deputy general secretary.

Some 42,000 mail centre staff and drivers are due to strike tomorrow followed on Friday by 78,000 delivery and collection staff.

The Royal Mail and the government have warned the strikes will damage the company, put small firms that use its services in jeopardy and push clients to competitors.

Royal Mail’s business has suffered in recent years as consumers and industry switch to the internet or more specialised postal services.

Mandelson said this week that Royal Mail had to modernise to survive and its finances would be pushed into the red by the strikes.

The government wants to sell up to 30% of the company to make it more competitive; but set aside those plans earlier this year due to adverse market conditions and opposition from workers and Labour politicians.

Royal Mail has said it would hire 30,000 temporary staff to help cope with the backlog expected to be created by the strikes and a higher Christmas workload — double the normal seasonal intake.

… (Reuters, 25/10/2009) – Royal Mail calls for commonsense to end strike

… (Reuters, 28/10/2009) – Postal strikes to go ahead this week

… (Telegraph, 31/10/2009) – Postal strikes: union announces two all-out strikes despite talks progress

Postal Staff To Strike Nationwide

(Reuters) – THOUSANDS OF POSTAL WORKERS at Britain’s state-owned Royal Mail will stage two 24-hour national strikes on October 22nd and 23rd, their trade union said today.

The Communication Workers Union, which acts for 120,000 UK postal workers, said the walkouts could still be averted if an agreement with management was reached.

Workers voted overwhelmingly last week for nationwide action, escalating a dispute which has already caused widespread disruption to postal services.

A national strike would cripple deliveries across the country and could cost the economy an estimated £1.5 billion retailers have said.

Postal Union Offers Deal To Avert Strike

(Reuters) – UNION LEADERS representing workers at Britain’s state-owned Royal Mail said today they had offered management a last-ditch deal to avert a national strike that would cripple deliveries across the country. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said it had written to the Royal Mail’s managing director asking him to show he is sincere about reaching an agreement.

‘If not, the CWU will have no option than to press ahead with issuing notice for strike action later this week,’ it said in a statement.

A CWU spokeswoman said that if the latest negotiation failed national strike dates will be announced on Thursday October 15.

She said the earliest a strike could take place would be October 22, as labour laws require unions to give seven days notice.

More Mail Disruption Until Tuesday

(Guardian) – THOUSANDS OF POSTAL STAFF across Britain are to launch a series of strikes in an escalating dispute over pay and jobs tomorrow, threatening the biggest disruption to Royal Mail deliveries in two years.

More than 25,000 postal workers are to take part in the action planned for tomorrow, Saturday and Monday, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said. The strikes will be the biggest since a national stoppage in 2007, and will affect several major towns and cities including London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bristol and Ipswich.

Workers are protesting against ‘panic-driven’ cuts being made at Royal Mail to pay, jobs and services, the union said.

Royal Mail condemned the action, which it said would damage customer confidence and ‘undermine the entire UK postal industry,’ at a time when mail volumes are falling by nearly 10% year-on-year.

The union’s executive will hold a national ballot of its 160,000 postal members next month, which could lead to nationwide strikes in the autumn. The result of the ballot should be known the week before the Labour party conference.

… (08/10/2009) – Postal Workers Vote For Nationwide Strike

Royal Mail Sell-Off Shelved

(Press Association) – PART PRIVATISATION OF THE ROYAL MAIL will not go ahead as planned, because of the depressed state of the economy, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has announced.

Lord Mandelson told the House of Lords that there was ‘no prospect’ of the sale going ahead in the current economic circumstances.

A delay in the controversial sell-off, which is opposed by many Labour MPs, had been expected after Lord Mandelson told the Financial Times, on Monday, that his Postal Services Bill was being ‘jostled’ for space in the legislative programme.

He told peers that the state of the economy made it ‘impossible’ to obtain value for money for the taxpayer; but, he added: ‘When market conditions change, we will return to the issue.’