Labour shadow minister: Royal Mail strikes will "focus people's minds" on thrashing out a deal

Oliver Gill
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The CWU Continue Strike Action As Agreement Is Yet To Be Reached
Royal Mail announced plans to shut its pension scheme earlier this year (Source: Getty)

Labour has urged both sides in the Royal Mail industrial dispute to thrash out a deal to avert a shutdown of Britain’s postal network.

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) will today formally serve notice on Royal Mail of plans to ballot its 110,000 members over industrial action.

Weeks of talks broke down over a raft of workplace changes and the closing of Royal Mail’s multi-billion pound pension scheme.

“It is a shame that they [the workers] feel they need to withdraw their labour,” shadow business minister Gill Furniss told City A.M..

Furniss hopes the threat of industrial action will “focus people's minds”.

I really would urge both sides to carry on talking and reach some kind of negotiated agreement that everyone can live with so that things can return to normal.

Read more: 110,000 posties head to the ballot box as Royal Mail digs heels in

"No grounds"

Royal Mail has said the future of the business depends on staff being prepared to accept a "more flexible and adaptable" workplace. It has also said there are “no grounds” for strikes and has made concessions.

Meanwhile, the CWU believes there is a fundamental difference of opinion between the two parties.

Furniss added:

Any time I have visited my local sorting office it would appear to me that the workforce is very flexible and always have been. They’ve had to be and they’ve adapted to everything that has been thrown at them.

“We are living in turbulent times. In a world that changes at a very fast pace and the unions are quite well-versed when you look at the changes in our lives in the last 20 years. So they will be representing their members and clearly, Royal Mail will be representing their shareholders. And somehow they’ve got to come together to sort it out.”

Read more: Union set to launch Royal Mail ballot for crippling strikes

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