Royal Mail seeks injunction against workers’ boycott

Suzie Neuwirth

ROYAL Mail is seeking a high court injunction against the Communication Workers Union after postal workers voted to boycott deliveries of competitors’ mail and against the privatisation of the postal service.

In a ballot of 112,000 postal workers, 96 per cent opposed the privatisation and 92 per cent supported the boycott of delivering rival postal firms’ mail.

Royal Mail is paid for delivering pre-sorted post on behalf of companies such as TNT Post and UK Mail. The CWU said that this causes unfair competition as rival firms can cherry-pick profitable bulk mail contracts, squeezing pay and jobs for Royal Mail.

“On a mail boycott, Royal Mail workers have shown they understand the threat to the universal service from unfair competition and the race to the bottom on their own terms and conditions. The way competition is being introduced does not benefit customers, small businesses or postal workers in whatever company they work for,” said Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary.

The UK government plans to privatise Royal Mail early next year, most likely through a stock market flotation.

“Royal Mail is not a financial basket case and [the workers] know privatisation is only benefitting vested interests,” said Ward.

Royal Mail said it is “fully committed to seeking an agreement with the CWU”, but added that it would be “unlawful” for the CWU to direct workers to refuse to handle rival post.

“Royal Mail operates in a very competitive market and customers can move their business very quickly,” it said. ‘This could result in a significant loss of business.”