Around 10,000 HGV drivers working across Britain for Royal Mail are to begin the strike vote process unless there is a new offer from management within the next seven days.
Although they are a relatively small group of workers, these drivers are critical to the movement of mail and a strike would have a big effect. Should managers be foolish enough to bring in scab drivers, it is highly likely that other groups of postal workers would refuse to cooperate with them triggering a potential general stoppage.
The dispute stems from the loss of earnings which drivers face when new restrictions on hours due to the Road Transport Directive are brought in.
No drivers relish long hours, but nor do they look forward to the big cuts in pay which will result from curbs on working.
So drivers have demanded a substantial rise in basic pay so they can earn a living under the new rules. Network drivers are content with the basic pay on offer, but very unhappy with the strings attached.
These would mean absolute 'flexibility' and some unpaid meal breaks. Area distribution drivers are angry at the money they have been offered and at the failure to distribute savings.
It was expected that managers would come up with a new deal. But this has not happened and now the strike ballot is imminent.
The ballot papers will be dispatched on 7 February and the ballot will close on 28 February.