Threat of postal strike as workers back action
The Royal Mail is facing the threat of the first national strike since it was privatised after workers voted massively in favour of industrial action in a bitter dispute over pensions, pay and jobs.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) backed walkouts by 89% on a turnout of 73% of the 110,000 balloted.
It passed the threshold in the Government's controversial Trade Union Act, under which ballots need a 50% turnout for industrial action to go ahead.
The CWU believes it is a "watershed" moment for unions as well as the Royal Mail, which it has accused of following a "relentless" programme of cost-cutting to maximise short-term profits and shareholder returns.
The union accused the company of "unilaterally" closing its defined benefit, or final salary, pension scheme, with new entrants going into an "inferior" scheme which will leave them in "pensioner poverty".
The union is also in dispute over pay and issues such as delivery office closures. The union's deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said: "This ballot result is hugely significant and demonstrates a strength of feeling that can only be translated as a massive vote of no confidence."