Royal Mail says it will hold union talks, without preconditions, if the postal workers’ union agrees to rule out a national strike before Christmas.
The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) announced two weeks ago the result of a ballot on industrial action which showed overwhelming support for strikes in a dispute over pay and working conditions.
No strikes could be called before mid-November, when Royal Mail’s dispute resolution procedure is due to expire.
:: First national postal strike in a decade ‘looms large’
But that would leave it vulnerable to disruption at its busiest time of the year, ahead of its Black Friday and Christmas delivery windfalls.
The company has witnessed growing wildcat action among staff this year amid union claims it has reneged on commitments made last year in several areas, including shorter working hours and pensions.
The CWU argues 50,000 jobs are at risk under the company’s transformation plans, which include separating its Parcelforce division.
Royal Mail has said there are no grounds for damaging strikes and it has to react to changing consumer and business trends as parcel delivery volumes grow thanks to online shopping and letters decline.
In its letter to the CWU, the company wrote: “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.”
The union responded in a tweet that its executive would consider the offer on Wednesday.
But it read: “Royal Mail Group’s position in this dispute is born out of dogma and raised on deceit.
“Today’s press release is a total sham designed to undermine the CWU and any prospect of an agreement.”
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