Royal Mail Delivery Vans

Royal Mail Postal Workers Overwhelmingly Vote for More Strikes

It’s been a bit quiet on the Royal Mail postal worker strike front since Christmas. The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents about 115,000 Royal Mail postal workers, and Royal Mail had been in negotiations, but very little progress, if any, has come of the talks.

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Earlier this month, the CWU had to call off two strike days due to a legal challenge by Royal Mail.

But a new vote among the union’s membership last week overwhelmingly supported further strikes, providing a six-month mandate to the CWU to call for additional labor actions.

Royal Mail Labor Peace Remains Elusive

What does all this mean for UK shippers and ecommerce sellers outside the UK with British customers?

The uncertainty of labor peace will continue to hang over small business sellers, who are more likely to use postal carriers for shipping than private parcel courier services.

While the gigantic mail backlogs experienced during the holiday season are unlikely to be repeated over the next six months, the British public may have become accustomed to timely deliveries again from Royal Mail after weeks of no labor disruptions.

How much disruption any further strikes will actually bring to UK postal deliveries will directly depend on the CWU’s plans to ramp up its labor actions.

The union appears to have the confidence of the membership to continue the fight. But will they continue with occasional strike days or move to a scheme of significant strike action that could include long-term walkouts?

And if so, is the membership willing to take this more aggressive path which would affect their short-term finances in the midsts of continued economic pressures due to high inflation?

It’s a bit of a quagmire as on one hand the strike is over matching pay to the current cost-of-living crisis, among other issues, but at the same time, pro-longed walkouts could be financially disastrous for Royal Mail postal workers.

In addition, Royal Mail could answer with more job cuts if aggressive strike actions could see the postal operator lose market share to competitors in the parcel business. Last October, it axed 10,000 roles to be eliminated by this August.

Part of the problem for the union today is that once they got past the busy holiday season, their bargaining position effectively diminished.

Therefore, unless the union is ready to ramp up its strike actions with long-term walkouts, occasional strike days are not going to disrupt UK’s mail operations significantly that would see Royal Mail move away from their hardened position.

For small businesses in the UK and around the world that rely on Royal Mail for final delivery to British customers, it’s important to continue to monitor the Royal Mail labor situation.

As long it’s only a few strike days, it’s not going to be too disruptive. But it seems the union is at a cross-roads right now that would require long-term walkouts to force meaningful negotiations.

At some point, one side will have to give in significantly on their position if there will be labor peace.

But as it stands today, it seems Royal Mail has the upper hand, and it would take considerable strike actions by CWU postal workers to turn that equation around.

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