Vote on Royal Mail strike ballot
Postal workers' leaders are set to decide whether to hold a national strike ballot over jobs, pensions and other issues linked to the Government's controversial plans to privatise the Royal Mail.
Around 500 Communication Workers Union (CWU) reps will vote on whether to press ahead with a strike ballot of 115,000 Royal Mail workers, no later than September.
If approved, it would be the first ballot for national industrial action in Royal Mail since September 2009.
CWU reps are debating a range of issues, including securing job protections in Royal Mail, alternative business models to privatisation, changes to pensions, and workplace pressure.
A union spokesman said: "We want to secure the best possible protections for our members' jobs and we will stop at nothing to ensure that their future, and that of the UK's postal services, are protected.
"Deciding to hold a strike ballot is a serious step and not one we or our reps take lightly. The debate and vote will be significant and will shape the next chapter in Royal Mail industrial relations."
The policy to be voted on reads: "That the CWU will prioritise national negotiations along the policy lines stated. If satisfactory agreements cannot be secured, the union will hold a national industrial action ballot no later than September 2013. The postal executive will have discretion to enact the ballot earlier in light of events, the actions of management and progress made."
Royal Mail said it was "disappointed" that the CWU was debating a strike ballot , adding: "Earlier this month, Royal Mail proposed a legally-binding three-year agreement to deliver its agenda for growth and industrial stability that included an 8.6% increase in base pay over three years. It has been rejected by the CWU, but we continue to talk with them about reaching agreement. We believe that a debate on a strike action ballot is premature.
"Royal Mail believes that strike action or threat of strike action is harmful. Royal Mail operates in a very competitive market and we recognise that customers have a choice and can move their business very quickly.
"Our proposal offered confirmation that contracts of employment and terms and conditions for existing employees and employees hired into the core network will remain on the same basis at least for the three-year period of this settlement, unless varied by mutual consent. It also offered a new model for CWU and Royal Mail to work together."