Royal Mail workers have voted massively in favor of strikes in a dispute over job security and employment terms and conditions, raising the threat of industrial action in the run-up to Christmas.
The CWU said that Royal Mail is not sticking to an agreement reached last year covering a wide range of issues, including plans to reduce the working week, as well as job security.
Industrial relations at the company have worsened this year, with widespread unofficial strikes breaking out virtually every week.
Terry Pullinger, the CWU’s deputy general secretary, said the union and its members were facing the “fight of our lives”.
The CWU said the result represents the largest yes vote for national industrial action since the passing of the Trade union Act 2016.
Royal Mail workers have also voted to strike between October 19 and 21, impacting thousands of delivery purchases made via online retail sites.
The confirmation of the strike dates comes after 89.1 percent of Royal Mail workers who are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) earlier this week voted in favor of industrial action.
This means 111,000 postal workers plan to walk out of the job for three days as eCommerce retailers prepare for the holiday rush from Black Friday right through to Christmas.
In response, the Royal Mail said it was “deeply disappointed” by the CWU‘s decision and that they remained “committed to further talks”.
The industrial action was prompted by the Royal Mail‘s decision to close its final pension scheme.
The FTSE 250-listed company said it would explore all legal options, including applying for a High Court injunction, to prevent the strike.
It added that because of the 2013 Agenda for Growth agreement, the CWU has no legal grounds to strike.
To gain the right to strike, they have to undergo a “legally binding dispute resolution procedure” that would take until at least Christmas to be finalized.
“There are no grounds for industrial action. We want to reach an agreement.”
If the postal strike goes ahead, it will be the first since 2009 and the first since the Royal Mail was privatized three years ago.