A legal challenge has halted a strike ballot among 10,000 HGV drivers working across Britain for Royal Mail.
Managers had raised questions about the vote even before it began – but also offered talks over the dispute.
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.
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 from April.
No drivers relish long hours and they should not be forced to work them, 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.
Royal Mail has threatened to recruit an army of agency drivers if the present workforce won’t accept the deal on offer.
This is a very serious challenge and in every locality CWU union members should be organising now for solidarity with the drivers and discussing their attitude in the event of a strike.
Talks are now taking place and the union will then decide whether there is a need to issue a further notice for an industrial action ballot.
The incident underlines the need to contest the anti-union laws.