Royal Mail Privatisation Direct Marketing Association Cwu

Direct Marketing Association warns of consequences as Royal Mail workers vote to strike over post-privatisation jobs fears

By Angela Haggerty | Reporter

October 16, 2013 | 3 min read

Concerns have been raised by the Direct Marketing Association over service disruption in the run up to Christmas after a ballot of Royal Mail workers returned a vote for strike action.

Strike: CWU's Royal Mail members have voted for action

A statement from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) on Wednesday afternoon confirmed a 78 per cent vote in favour of strike action in a bid to safeguard jobs, terms and conditions and secure a pay rise following the recent privatisation of the service.

But Chris Combemale, the Direct Marketing Association’s executive director, warned: “The UK economy is only just emerging from recession and we cannot afford any further impediment to its recovery.

“The build-up to Christmas is a critical period that typically accounts for a significant proportion of businesses’ annual revenues and charities’ donations. People who rely on Royal Mail to deliver billions of pounds of goods ordered online would have their festive season disrupted, and loss of trade would lead to job cuts in many companies across the economy."

He added: “Commercial users account for the biggest percentage of Royal Mail’s turnover. Any disruption to service would quickly lead businesses to take their custom elsewhere, which is an outcome that would not benefit the postal workers that CWU represents.”

The CWU will take a one-day strike action on 4 November if an agreement has not been reached and further action could follow. In addition, the union has announced a new ballot that, if successful, will allow postal workers to boycott competitors' mail to supplement the strike action.

The news follows last week’s privatisation of Royal Mail, which saw the company priced at £3.3bn. By the end of its first day of conditional trading, shares had gone up by 38 per cent to £4.55.

CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said the union was keen to reach a deal but insisted workers must be provided with some long term security.

“Postal workers have spoken very clearly that they care about their jobs, terms and conditions far more than they care about shares,” he said.

“The stakes have become much higher for postal workers since privatisation making this ballot more important than ever. Postal workers will not be the people who pay for the profits of private operators and faceless shareholders.

“We have said from the beginning that we want an agreement and we still do. The question now is whether this privatised Royal Mail still wants an agreement.”

Ward added that the union aimed to secure a “groundbreaking, long term, legally binding” agreement that would ensure no further breakup of the company or introduction of a cheaper workforce.

Royal Mail Privatisation Direct Marketing Association Cwu

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