Royal Mail invites Communication Workers Union to another round of negotiations

Royal Mail invites Communication Workers Union to another round of negotiations
  • Royal Mail has invited Communication Workers Union for another round of negotiations to avoid Christmas strike.
  • Workers are demanding reduction in weekly working hours without trimming the pay, as per last year's agreement.
  • CWU members are dissatisfied with the new technology, chief executive, and the overall organizational culture.
  • Royal Mail’s stock was reported to have been trading 4.5% down on Tuesday at 212.1p.

Royal Mail has been actively trying to avoid a nationwide strike during the days of Christmas. In a recent attempt, it has invited the trade union leaders for another round of negotiations. In a letter sent to the Communication Workers Union (CWU), the postal and courier service highlighted that it is open for discussions as long as the union removes preconditions and present a binding commitment that negates the threat of a strike on Christmas.

Over 65% of Royal Mail’s workforce comprising of 140,000 professionals are currently members of the CWU. Earlier in October, these CWU members had voted in favor of an industrial action directed at resolving several of the prevailing issues. Sources have informed that CWU leaders have been granted a period of six months to achieve the mandate.

Royal Mail has further expressed its approval for stretching this period if the CWU leaders commit to suspending the industrial action. The current director for national service delivery, Ricky McAulay, was recently reported stating:

“If the CWU agrees to rule out industrial action for the remainder of the calendar year — a critical time for our customers, we will commit to holding open discussions with no preconditions aimed at resolving the dispute.”

Royal Mail May Lose Its Market Dominance In An Event Of A Christmas Strike

The experts have opinionated that the matter is of gravity for Royal Mail since a Christmas strike will disable timely deliveries of gifts and cards that can potentially ruin the festival for its valued customers. It will further enable competitors like Hermes, DPD, and Yodel to seize the opportunity and create their market dominance in the busiest time of the year.

In a Twitter response to Royal Mail, CWU stated, “[Royal Mail] refused to meet last week and offered just 4 hours today. These words fool nobody”. It was further added that CWU’s leaders are expected to hold a meeting tomorrow. An official response to Royal Mail will be revealed after the meeting.

Royal Mail Accused Of Disrespecting The Agreement Signed Last Year

Royal Mail had pledged its workers last year that their weekly working hours are going to be reduced without it having an impact on their pay. The failure of Royal Mail to comply with the agreement has fueled the threat of a nationwide strike by the workforce. The CWU members have further expressed their dissatisfaction with the newly introduced technology and overall organizational culture since June 2018, when Rico Back took on the role of Chief Executive.

Jefferies’ Analyst, David Kerstens, has recently commented, “I doubt CWU would want to engage in further talks with Royal Mail now after they have just completed seven weeks of mediation talks without resolution”.

That leaves Royal Mail with the option of turning to a legal action that can potentially force CWU to negotiations.

Royal Mail’s stock was reported to have been trading 4.5% down on Tuesday at 212.1p. The postal operator is currently valued at £2.22bn.

By Michael Harris
Specialising in economics by academia, with a passion for financial trading, Michael Harris has been a regular contributor to Invezz. His passion has given him first hand experience of trading, while his writing means he understands the market forces and wider regulation.
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