Royal Mail Worker
Source: Royal Mail

No Royal Mail Strike Days Until at Least 20 January 2023

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The Communications Workers Union (CWU) announced there will be no further strike days until at least 20 January 2023 against Royal Mail.

In a Facebook post to its members, Dave Ward, General Secretary and Andy Furey, Acting Deputy General Secretary (Postal) of the CWU said:

“We are writing to update you on our disputes with the Royal Mail Group. 

“The strike action during December had a major impact on the company and has delivered progress.

“Firstly, we saw a significant move from the company’s so-called “best and final offer” with their statement on no compulsory redundancies. This was subsequently confirmed in writing to the union just before the Christmas break. This is a positive development. However, for the company to honour this commitment, they must also confirm that it changes their plans, particularly around future resourcing models. We now want to test and build upon this in further negotiations.

“Secondly, we have just exchanged correspondence with the CEO today [Friday January 6] which means both parties have now agreed to refresh our talks for a period of intensive negotiations from the 9th to 20th January.

“As part of this the company and the union have committed to the following:

  • RMG has agreed to immediately remove the agency staff used to cover the Christmas peak and strike action.
  • RMG has accepted that the CWU will engage members in our campaign to win a re-ballot, while negotiations continue
  • RMG has reinstated the industrial relations framework for all revision activity. This is a significant development which gives us the ability to negotiate at local level, rather than managerial imposition of change. However, there remains a major issue over the national guidelines for these revisions and this will be discussed as the first item in our talks on Monday.
  • RMG has committed to reviewing all cases put forward by the CWU that have arisen from the dispute relating to suspensions, conduct charges and dismissals. The CWU has made clear that we will never accept these unfair attacks on our members and representatives and a resolution to this must be found over the next couple of weeks.  
  • The CWU has agreed not to take any strike action during the 9th and 20th of January.

“While recognising that some progress has been made, given the unacceptable actions of the company over the last few months, we do not take anything for granted and we know there are major differences between us on a raft of key issues.

“Notwithstanding the above, the union’s Postal Executive believe it is the right time to see if talks can succeed and for both parties to jointly try to change the dynamic of our disputes.

“While these talks continue, it is crucial for the CWU to be able to focus on delivering another massive turnout and Yes vote in our re-ballot campaign. The union is legally required to re-ballot our members to take further industrial action if needed and the timetable will be announced shortly.

“The outcome of this ballot will be critical to us achieving an agreement and therefore it must be the main focus for all CWU representatives and members in the coming weeks.

“We have also been campaigning for support for our dispute in Westminster and working with politicians to raise the issues facing our members in Royal Mail to Parliament. There are crucial activities planned over the next couple of weeks, as follows:

  • 10th January- Westminster Hall debate on Postal Services (Post Office and Royal Mail)
  • 12th January- Westminster Hall debate on Royal Mail and the Future of the Universal Service Obligation
  • 17th January- The CWU will be giving evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Parliamentary Select Committee, which has been called to discuss the mismanagement of Royal Mail and the future of the USO and our dispute
  • 23rd January- we will be meeting with major Royal Mail shareholders to explain our concerns about the dispute and the future of the company.

“We know this has been an extremely difficult dispute but there is no doubt that the strength of our membership over the last few months has delivered progress. We will discuss this progress and other developments on a live Facebook session on Tuesday 10th January at 7pm.

“Thank you for your incredible support. We must keep it going so we can secure an agreement that delivers for our members, the customers and our communities.”

Royal Mail Strikes Reprieve

Many small business owners will be happy to learn there is a reprieve to this labor dispute for at least 10 more days. This will mark at least a full month of operations since the last strike action on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2022.

While the CWU has claimed that many small businesses support the strike, it’s hard to imagine they are, especially with the delivery and backlog chaos just before Christmas.

eBay UK sellers have reported they were getting Item Not Received claims, and some shut down their stores until at least mid-January.

What the sellers on eBay experienced is just a microcosm of what many online merchants around the country probably experienced.

What knock-on effect this will have on small businesses trusting Royal Mail again is a big question, one that could impact the organization for years to come.

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