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UK News Royal Mail takes legal action to stop its postal workers striking in run-up to general election and Christmas

13:00  08 november  2019
13:00  08 november  2019 Source:   thisismoney.co.uk

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Royal Mail is seeking an injunction from the High Court to block its workers from striking in the run-up to the general election and over Christmas.

The group is embroiled in a bitter dispute with the Communication Workers Union over pay and working conditions.

Royal Mail claims there were 'potential irregularities in the ballot', allegedly making the vote to strike last month unlawful.

a red double decker buses parked in a parking lot: To the courts: Royal Mail is seeking an injunction from the High Court to block its workers from striking over the general election and Christmas © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited To the courts: Royal Mail is seeking an injunction from the High Court to block its workers from striking over the general election and Christmas

Royal Mail said: 'The company believes the evidence demonstrates that CWU officials, including co-ordination and direction at a senior level, have planned and orchestrated breaches of their legal obligations.'

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It added bosses have found 'at least 72' UK sites where staff were being asked to intercept and remove their ballot papers from mail coming into their delivery offices, before they were delivered to their homes.

The company added it had evidence of workers 'being instructed to vote 'yes' and being encouraged to do so in groups; and being encouraged to open their ballot papers on site, mark them as 'yes', with their colleagues present and filming or photographing them doing so, before posting their ballots together at their workplace postboxes.'

Royal Mail's procedures state employees cannot open their mail at delivery offices without the prior authorisation of their manager.

Royal Mail said it is seeking an interim order to block the strike ballot, which was overwhelmingly supported by union members last month, because the 'integrity and legal soundness' of the vote was 'vital', especially in the run up to the election on 12 December.

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In a press release published by its online Twitter page this morning, the CWU responded and said: 'The CWU completely rejects and denies this claim in the strongest terms and we will contest the claim at a High Court hearing on Tuesday, 12 November 2019.'

a sign on a brick wall: In a press release published by its online Twitter page this morning, the CWU responded and said: 'The CWU completely rejects and denies this claim in the strongest terms' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited In a press release published by its online Twitter page this morning, the CWU responded and said: 'The CWU completely rejects and denies this claim in the strongest terms'

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward, said: 'It will be clear to all our members and everybody connected with Royal Mail and this dispute, that the CEO and his board will go to any lengths to deny the democratic mandate of our members to stand together and fight for their future and the very future of UK Postal Services.'

Ward accused the Royal Mail of 'pressing on regardless with their asset stripping plans to set up a separate Parcels business and let thousands upon thousands of jobs wither on the vine.'

Royal Mail says union rejects strike offer as UK election looms

  Royal Mail says union rejects strike offer as UK election looms Royal Mail says union rejects strike offer as UK election looms"The CWU has said it is not prepared to take up this offer made by Royal Mail," a Royal Mail statement on Monday said.

Today, Royal Mail said: 'The company has previously written to CWU on two occasions. It provided CWU with the information on which this application is based.

'Undertakings were sought from CWU that, given the clear evidence of breaches of the Trade Unions and Labour Regulations (Consolidation) Act 1992 ('TULRCA'), it would refrain from industrial action. No such undertakings were given.'

Shane O’Riordain, managing director of regulation and corporate affairs at Royal Mail, said: 'Royal Mail has written to CWU on a number of occasions.

'On each occasion, we have said that, if the union provides a binding commitment to remove the threat of strike action for the rest of 2019, we will enter into discussions without preconditions.

'We will also extend the life of the ballot result by the same amount of time as the pause on industrial action. The CWU has so far declined to take up this offer. We continue to stand ready to engage with the CWU, on the basis that it makes this binding commitment.

'We continue to believe a binding commitment from the CWU to remove the threat of strike action during the period of any general election is vital to ensuring a seamless electoral process in relation to postal votes.'

Members of the CWU last month voted by 97 per cent in favour of a nationwide strike, claiming the company had failed to adhere to an employment deal agreed last year. Royal Mail rejected these claims.

A High Court hearing into Royal Mail's application for the injunction is expected to be heard early next week.

Industrial relations at the company have worsened this year, with frequent unofficial strikes breaking out.

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