CWU members cheer as 97.1% strike vote announced

From the Communication Workers Union

Hundreds of CWU reps waved their union flags and cheered as the “historic” Royal Mail ballot result was announced after a national reps’ briefing in central London earlier today.

In one of the largest ‘Yes’ votes and biggest turnouts for many years, CWU members in Royal Mail Group, not including Parcelforce members, voted by 97.1 per cent for strike action.

For legal reasons, our Parcelforce members were balloted separately in two separate ballots – one on the controversial ‘TUPE’ proposals and the other on the rest of the issues in dispute.

And both of these returned massive ‘Yes’ votes as well – 94.7 per cent and 95 per cent.

As the details of the balloting were read out by the union’s president Jane Loftus, loud cheering erupted, echoing loudly around the main hall of Euston’s Friends Meeting House.

Members of the press, who had been invited in to hear the announcement, immediately sent the news reverberating around the nation.

And in their eager questions to our general secretary Dave Ward and deputy general secretary postal (DGSP) Terry Pullinger, reporters all wanted to know when strike action could take place.

Media speculation had been building that Christmas or even November’s ‘Black Friday’ could be impacted by potential walkouts, but both Terry and Dave made clear that this would be entirely up to the Royal Mail leadership.

In his initial reaction to the announcement, our DGSP reminded the audience that “just over one year ago, the Royal Mail Group Board and the CWU agreed a blueprint agreement for the future, an agreement that included an historic pension solution, a mutual-interest-driven relationship and a joint vision for a successful postal service with social aims.”

But the new leadership of the company was now, he continued, “breaking that agreement”.

“Our members take honour seriously and have voted to fight for that agreement against those who now seek to break up the Great British Postal service in the interest of fast-track profit and greed.

“Integrity and pride still matter and we will not stand aside and see what we have spent our working lives building destroyed,” Terry insisted.

General secretary Dave Ward said that the result had been “historic” and warned the company leadership that they “cannot face away” from it.

“The workforce has completely rejected the company’s plans to set up a separate parcels business and allow UK postal services and thousands upon thousands of jobs to wither on the vine,” Dave added, highlighting other issues of grievance, such as increased workload pressure on members, driven by technology.

“This dispute goes to the heart of everything that is wrong in today’s world of work,” the general secretary continued, vowing to “fight the board’s asset-stripping plans, not just through strike action, but by speaking directly to major shareholders, politicians and the public.

“We will build a coalition for change and deliver an exciting and innovative future for Royal Mail, with an expanded role for postal workers in supporting local communities and growing the economy.”

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