Mail staff ballot for action notice
The threat of a national strike by postal workers over the Government's controversial plans to privatise the Royal Mail has come a step closer with formal notice of an industrial action ballot.
The Communication Workers Union served formal legal notice to the company of its intention to ballot its members for action.
Ballot papers will go out on September 27, with the result announced on October 16.
If there is a yes vote, the earliest that strike action could take place would be October 23.
It is the first national strike ballot in Royal Mail since 2009 and will affect 115,000 postal workers in Royal Mail and Parcelforce, but not the Post Office, which is a separate company.
The dispute is over pay, pensions and the impact of privatisation on job security, terms and conditions.
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: "The Government's privatisation agenda has destabilised everything. Postal workers are rightly concerned about their future so we want a legally-binding agreement on protections for jobs, terms and conditions - regardless of who owns the company.
"We don't want a race to the bottom in the postal industry where companies compete on poverty pay, few employment rights and poor services simply to maximise payouts to wealthy shareholders. Without an agreement strikes are inevitable."
"Royal Mail and Parcelforce workers deserve a fair pay rise and one that is not attached to unacceptable strings that include changes to pensions and a no-strike deal. The company made £403 million profit last year so it's not about affordability - especially when the Government says the company would pay out £133 million to shareholders next year if privatised.
"We want the company to recognise its main asset - its workers - who literally deliver the success of the business. This union still wants an agreement and we are hoping this strike ballot will focus the minds of Royal Mail and bring us to a legally-binding deal that will protect the interests of postal workers for the long-term foreseeable future."