BOYCOTT OF COMPETITORS’ MAIL – LEGAL POSITION
Having considered all the issues surrounding a potential injunction, which could have prevented the Union from taking legal industrial action on a range of issues, the CWU has given Royal Mail an undertaking that we will not call for a boycott of competitors’ mail on reliance of the consultative ballot result.
However, the Union will continue to build pressure over the issue of unfair competition. Firstly, we will explore if there is any legal way of carrying out a future boycott as part of a properly constituted industrial action ballot. Secondly, we will expose Royal Mail’s abject failure to tackle End to End competition. In recent months the company has moved from being a vocal critic, to publicly supporting Ofcom’s ‘wait and see’ approach. We want Royal Mail to explain to the workforce how they intend to protect revenue, jobs, and the pay and conditions of our members. Thirdly, we will plan a specific event to focus on the actions of the Regulator in the near future.
The boycott policy has already been effective in creating a lot of publicity. As a direct result of the Union’s actions we have seen Ofcom backtracking on the damaging proposals they were contemplating from their user needs consultation. We have seen Ofcom, for the first time, layout a detailed process on what needs to happen for them to directly intervene on end to end competition. Furthermore, we have seen Ofcom publicly commit to a firmer monitoring of the ongoing situation with a major review in 2015. Now the CWU will focus on fresh strategies to tackle unfair competition.
Please ensure the terms of this LTB are communicated to our members. The Union will be sending out further information next week on all the major issues we are currently dealing with. We have attached a copy of our press release issued today.
Dave Ward Billy Hayes
Deputy General Secretary (P) General Secretary
28th June 2013
For immediate release
Fight goes on over unfair competition
The Communication Workers Union is today (Friday) pleased that the profile of the issue of unfair competition and opposition to privatisation has been raised by the union’s consultative ballot result. The union has accepted legal advice which says it would not be legal to undertake boycott action on the back of the consultative ballot alone, but says the fight goes on.
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “Postal workers have clearly spoken. When asked directly, 92% said they were prepared to take part in a boycott of competitors’ mail and 96% said they opposed privatisation of Royal Mail. This has significantly raised the profile of these issues.
“We have accepted the advice of lawyers that it would not be legal to take action on boycotting competitors’ mail on the basis of the consultative ballot result alone.
“We are now considering how this action could be taken. There are a number of outstanding issues for our members in Royal Mail and we are exploring the possibility of holding a national industrial action ballot which could also deal with the boycott.
“In the meantime, Royal Mail must explain to its workforce how they are going to protect revenue, jobs and terms and conditions when they have abjectly failed to tackle this issue. They should be taking TNT to court, not us.
“TNT is allowed to set up delivery networks on an unlevel playing field – delivering what they want, when they want, where they want on poverty pay and with no quality of service standards. The government and regulator are sleepwalking into a disaster waiting to happen. The fight goes on to protect the future of UK postal services.”
CWU published the results of its consultative ballot on 19 June. Ballot papers were distributed to 112,000 postal workers in Royal Mail (not the Post Office or Parcelforce) asking four questions.
The results, on a 74% turnout, were:
Q1: Do you oppose the privatisation of Royal Mail? YES 96%
Q2: Do you support the boycott of competitors’ mail? YES 92%
Q3: Do you support the CWU Pay claim? YES 99%
Q4: Do you support the policy of non-cooperation? YES 92%