Royal Mail to face 48-hour strike from October 19

05 October 2017

Royal Mail workers are set to strike for 48 hours from October 19 in a dispute over pensions, pay and jobs.

The Communication Workers Union said it had told the Royal Mail Group that 111,000 postal workers will walk out.

The industrial action follows the 89.1% vote in favour of a strike announced by the union on Thursday (October 5).

Royal Mail said it will use all legal options, including applying for a High Court injunction, to prevent industrial action.

The FTSE 100-listed company called for further talks the CWU, adding: "We believe any strike action before the dispute resolution procedures have been followed would be unlawful."

The union said the company's move to replace the pension scheme meant its members would lose up to a third of their retirement entitlements.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said it was a "watershed dispute" that would determine the future of the postal service.

"We are determined to take whatever steps are necessary to deliver an agreement that will protect and enhance our member's terms and conditions and improve the range of services on offer to customers," he said.

The CWU vote, which had a 73.7% turnout, is the first major ballot since the introduction of the Trade Union Act, which requires a 50% turnout.

The union did not rule out further strike action in addition to the 48-hour walkout later this month.

Royal Mail responded to the announcement of a strike date by immediately threatening to block it in the courts should its offer of further talks be rejected.

It claims a legal agreement it has in place with the union - Agenda For Growth, agreed in 2013 - prevents it from taking strike action at this stage of a grievance process.

The company said: "Royal Mail will be writing to the CWU invoking the external mediation process under the dispute resolution procedures in the Agenda for Growth.

"These legally-binding dispute resolution procedures were set up as a vehicle to resolve industrial disputes.

"We wish to use them to do just that. Royal Mail will use all legal options at its disposal, including applying to the High Court for an injunction to prevent industrial action."