Royal Mail has used yet more legal shenanigans to try to stop the Communication Workers Union (CWU) taking action. It’s using a legal technicality to stop the CWU postal strike which the union announced on 2 February. It’s not the first time the company has done this to workers. However, the CWU told the Canary it will not allow Royal Mail’s “blatant intimidatory tactics” to “demoralise” its members.
CWU: another postal strike
As the Canary previously reported, the CWU had announced another postal strike. Workers were going to walk out from 12.30pm on Thursday 16 February until Friday 17 February. The trade union said this strike action was going to be over:
unagreed changes related to the structure of work at offices across the country.
These decisions have been taken in direct contravention of the Industrial Relations (IR) Framework established between the union and the employer
Crucially, this CWU strike was legally based on its first ballot of members in 2022. However, Royal Mail was clearly rattled. So, it got the lawyers in to look at the postal strike – and after a backwards and forwards between them and the CWU’s legal team, the union was forced to call the strike off.
Royal Mail: legal shenanigans
As the union said in an internal memo:
Over the weekend we received correspondence from Royal Mail Group’s legal representatives challenging the strike action we have called across the 16th/17th February. Having discussed this with our lawyers they have advised that we could defend our position in court.
However, they have also advised that given the laws in this country are heavily weighted against working people, the risks of losing in court may potentially impact on the re-ballot – we simply cannot allow this happen.
The CWU told the Canary that its lawyers “strongly dispute” Royal Mail’s assertion that there was a “legal error” with the postal strike. However, the union is clear that under the circumstances, it must protect the ability of its members to strike in the future. Currently, the union is running a second ballot for a fresh six-month wave of strike action:
It is this the union wants to focus on – but it is also furious with Royal Mail.
Workers: do not falter
The CWU told the Canary:
The most important thing for postal workers is securing the biggest possible ‘yes’ vote and turnout in the re-ballot, to demonstrate that they aren’t demoralised by blatant intimidatory tactics such as these, and are still determined to defend their livelihoods.
Royal Mail’s tactics are indeed blatant. It previously used a legal loophole to stop strikes in November 2022 – showing that the bosses were being petulant, at best. However, the company and its bosses‘ behaviour is also shameful. For example, a parliamentary committee is dragging CEO Simon Thompson back before it, after he previously misled the committee while giving evidence – or lied, if you prefer. All this is without the bosses’ dire pay offers, worsening working conditions, and gross mismanagement of Royal Mail.
So, the CWU may have pulled one strike. However, the union and its members are rightly focusing on the second ballot. And a strong result in that, with more postal strikes to hopefully follow, will show Royal Mail that no amount of intimidation will make the workers’ resolve falter.
Featured image via CWU Live – YouTube