Socialist Worker

New developments in the Royal Mail dispute

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2586

Royal Mail workers in the CWU union marched last year

Royal Mail workers in the CWU union marched last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Postal workers’ union leaders have suggested they could soon reach an agreement with bosses in a dispute over pay, pensions and conditions.

In a bulletin last week the CWU union told its members, “Our confidence grows that we will reach a negotiators’ agreement which will address all the issues we have campaigned on.”

It means a national strike by workers in Royal Mail now seems increasingly unlikely. Workers voted overwhelmingly to strike in a ballot last year.

Bosses and union officials have been in talks for several weeks after Royal Mail won an injunction to stop workers from striking.

The union says it has already won a major concession over pensions. And it has hinted that it could win more over pay and future working conditions.

Bosses had previously wanted to scrap workers’ defined benefit pension scheme and replace it with a defined contribution scheme.

This would have left the amount workers received in retirement at the mercy of the market.

Now bosses have agreed a “defined ambition” scheme that gives workers a wage in retirement—but does not guarantee how much that will be.

Meanwhile the CWU has also rejected a 2 percent pay offer. And there have been no announcements on proposed changes to Royal Mail’s delivery model, which could see working conditions significantly worsened.

The CWU bulletin also warned to “be mindful that these talks could break down at any stage.

“We may still find ourselves having to take action to get an agreement over the line.”

The CWU must call action if it cannot get an agreement that:

  • Protects all of its members’ pensions
  • Includes an above inflation pay deal
  • Guarantees no changes to deliveries that disrupt workers’ lives

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