Postal union in legal fight over temps

THE Communication Workers Union (CWU) will on?Friday ask the High Court to issue an injunction against Royal Mail to stop it from taking on 30,000 agency workers.<br /><br />The CWU believes that Royal Mail is breaking the law because it is illegal to take on staff to cover workers involved in a lawful industrial dispute, according to Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses regulations.<br /><br />But Royal Mail insists that there is no wrongdoing and says the temporary staff have been taken on to clear a backlog of post in preparation for Christmas &ndash; not to cover striking workers.<br /><br />Up to 60m items of post have built up at sorting offices as a result of the strikes. <br /><br />Postal workers have already staged five 24-hour strikes that have seen different divisions walk out in succession.<br /><br />But the latest walkouts, due on Friday and on 9 November, will see all 121,000 union members down tools. <br /><br />So far talks between the Royal Mail and the CWU have been fruitless, but talks are expected to resume today. <br /><br />The dispute surrounds pay and modernisation at Royal Mail, which is grappling with a &pound;10bn pension deficit.<br /><br />The CWU will be represented by John Hendy QC of Old Square Chambers, well known for his work in industrial relations. Acting solicitor is Paul Statham at Pattinson &amp; Brewer.<br /><br />A number of businesses including retailers Amazon and John Lewis have switched to different couriers to avoid disruption.