Royal Mail wins legal injunction to block strike

Dave Ward

Royal Mail workers had meant to strike over pensions, pay and jobs.

Royal Mail has halted Britain's first planned national walkout by postal workers since it was privatised, after successfully applying for a high court injunction.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) members backed walkouts by 89 per cent, but a High Court injunction appears to have quashed the strike.

Royal Mail said it would now begin the process of external mediation, which is likely to take at least until the end of the year to complete.

It claims that an injunction is appropriate to prevent the deliberate inconveniencing of hundreds of thousands of people across the United Kingdom, as well as commercial loss to the company.

Royal Mail, which was privatised in 2013, is trying to modernise after years of underinvestment and has reduced layers of management, upgraded technology and cut its property bill.

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The ballot is part of a flurry of union activity this autumn as public sector and health workers discuss the possibility of industrial action.

In response, the union tweeted: "Royal Mail won the injunction but we stand here with 90% yes vote and more strike action ready to come". The judged ruled that pressing ahead with the strike without following the dispute resolution procedures, which include involving an external party to mediate on talks, would be unlawful.

On his way into the court, Ward said: "Court rooms don't solve disputes".

In the wake of the ruling, Royal Mail said it would make contact with the CWU "as a matter of urgency".

In a statement to the stock market on Thursday, Royal Mail said that the court's decision had confirmed that any strike action prior to completion of agreed dispute resolution procedures would be unlawful.

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