Postal workers’ strike is called off as progress talks given two-week window

The shop floor of the huge Home Counties North mail sorting centre in Maxted Road, Hemel Hempstead
The shop floor of the huge Home Counties North mail sorting centre in Maxted Road, Hemel Hempstead

A 24-hour postal workers’ strike planned for Monday has been called off as attempts to resolve the dispute with newly-privatised Royal Mail continue.

The Communication Workers Union says it has made progress in talks with the employer and aims to have reached an agreement within a fortnight.

The union is calling for legal protections for employees – which will extend beyond the three-year deal currently being offered by Royal Mail – an improved pay and reward offer and a separate pensions agreement.

The union’s deputy general secretary for postal workers Dave Ward said: “There is no doubt that privatisation is a setback. What we are trying to do now is concentrate on the impact of privatisation and unfair competition on the future of our members’ job security and terms and conditions.

“I believe we will reach an agreement that really will be groundbreaking in terms of UK employment. It won’t only offer them greater protection than any other UK postal workers, I also believe that we will actually be able to shape and determine the way that Royal Mail will now operate – the principles, the values, the way it treats employees – as a private organisation.”

Union representative for Hemel Hempstead John Thwaites, who works at the Maylands estate mail sorting super centre, said earlier this week: “This is not a fight against our customers or the general public. It is a fight to protect the pride of the job – if our terms and conditions are seriously impacted on, a lot of people will look to leave.

“That would mean the service will take a nosedive.”

Royal Mail has agreed to extend the validity of the current industrial action ballot until November 20, and hopes to have come to an agreement with the union by November 13.