RM staff back rivals' mail boycott
Royal Mail workers have voted in favour of boycotting competitors' mail and have massively rejected the Government's controversial plan to privatise the company.
A ballot of 112,000 delivery, sorting office and other postal staff by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) showed that 96% opposed the planned sell-off of Royal Mail.
But a brief hearing was later held in the High Court, when Royal Mail said the union had given an undertaking not to induce its members to refuse to handle competitors' letters and parcels pending a further hearing on June 28.
"As a result any direction by the Communication Workers Union that postmen and women should refuse to handle access letters and parcels would be unlawful," said Royal Mail.
A CWU spokesman said: "Royal Mail did seek an injunction today against any industrial action. We have given an undertaking to not call industrial action for the next seven days in reliance on the consultative ballot. There is currently no injunction against CWU."
More than nine out of 10 CWU members said they backed a boycott of mail handled by rival companies amid union fears that jobs will be hit by "unfair" competition.
The ballot, which had a turnout of 74%, also returned huge votes in favour of the union's claim for an above-inflation pay rise, and a policy of non-cooperation against the "relentless pursuit" of performance demands.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: "Today postal workers have spoken loud and clear, with a massive 96% roundly rejecting the Government's plans to privatise Royal Mail. The workforce does not support the Government or Royal Mail on selling the company.
"This company is flourishing in public ownership, as the recent doubling of profits proves. It's becoming less clear what this policy is about. Why privatise this profitable company?"
Royal Mail said it was committed to seeking an agreement with the union on the way forward that equipped the business for the future and was fair to employees.