BRITAIN’S postal network could face a shutdown after workers served notice on Royal Mail for a strike ballot yesterday.
Posties’ union CWU said it had been left with no option but to act over the company’s “shattered promises” on pensions, terms and working practices since privatisation.
Royal Mail has sought to replace its current defined benefit pensions with a scheme that workers fear will leave them worse off. The union has put forward an alternative “wage in retirement” proposal.
Reps have also argued for guarantees on job security, working hours and keeping pay in line with the rising cost of living.
CWU deputy general secretary for post Terry Pullinger said: “Quite frankly, three years or more into privatisation, we are seeing its promises shattered as the company has deserted the mutual interest approach to one of minimising cost and maximising shareholder return.
“This has led to actual and intended attacks on our members’ pensions, terms and conditions and ways of working.”
Mr Pullinger said “gig economy” practices in other companies had encouraged mail bosses to try it on.
“Our dispute is not only about protecting our members but also protecting a great public service and national institution — the Royal Mail Group — which should never have been privatised,” he said.
Postal deliveries and distribution were hived off to private speculators in 2013 — with the less profitable Post Office kept in state hands.
A Royal Mail spokesman said there were “no grounds” for industrial action and that the fi rm was offering “to replace the current defined benefit scheme [with] a defined benefit cash balance scheme.”