Colleagues will recall the decision taken by the NEC at its meeting on the 17th January 2023 that postponed the conference due to take place in April 2023 until the above date. This was communicated to Branches in LTB 016/23 dated 17th January 2023.

The purpose of this LTB is to inform Branches that at their meeting yesterday the NEC, for the reasons explained below, unanimously took the decision to cancel the Conference due to be held on the 1st – 5th October 2023.

The rationale for the original decision was, for the large part, centred on where the dispute/ negotiations with Royal Mail were and the impact that dealing with those issues would have on the value or effectiveness of holding the conference in April.

Subsequent to the decision taken on the 17th January we contacted the Standing Orders Committee (SOC) to determine what a timetable would look like for motions to General, Industrial and a Rules Section would be.  Their response was to state that closing date for motions to General Conference would have to be 22nd June 2023, Rules 27th July 2023 and Industrial 3rd August 2023.

Branches will be aware that, as of this moment and for reasons explained elsewhere the dispute with Royal Mail has yet to go out to ballot and therefore has yet to be finalised. This presents us with a real difficulty when considering the timetable set by the SOC.

In addition to the above the NEC also had to consider the position of Postal Branches and of the major industrial issues being dealt with in the TFS constituency. The work required to move these issues forward must also be taken into account.

Consideration of these issues is particularly relevant given the longstanding structural matters that we need to address. This means there is a clear need to set out a detailed programme of engagement at all levels of the union in order to redesign, restructure and secure buy in for the changes we need to make to ensure we build a union fit for a continually fast moving industrial and political arena.

Rather than rush to a conference with a barely thought out plan we need to build confidence at all levels that what we do and what rule changes we propose as a result, have support throughout the union.

We simply do not have time to do that as a result of the timetable set out by the SOC.  In some ways the decision was a straightforward one, go ahead with the conference, yes or no. In reality it was a debate around how best we use our resources and time to the best advantage of our members.

It is for these reasons that the decision to cancel the October conference was taken.

In order that we set out to Branches how we intend to deal with the issues around restructuring the CWU to enable it to be fit for purpose for the future, the GS and SDGS will shortly arrange an online Branch Briefing to talk through our approach to this and how we will involve Branches in that process.

As a result of the decision made, the NEC also agreed that the next Conference will be held at the Bournemouth International Centre from the 21st April – 25th April 2024. We have also contacted the conference centre in Blackpool to secure dates for the 2025 conference at that venue.

Branches should immediately contact hotels who they have made bookings with to discuss transferring deposits already paid to the April 2024 dates.

The NEC fully understands that none of this is ideal, however we have to deal with the reality that faces us, we are dealing with some extremely crucial industrial issues that require our complete and undivided attention. The long term sustainability of the CWU in part rests on the outcome of these matters and in part on how we have clear and agreed structural change.

Full details of the online briefing mentioned above will be sent to Branches shortly.

Any enquiries regarding this Letter to Branches should be addressed to the Senior Deputy General Secretary’s Department on telephone number 020 8971 7237, or email address

Yours sincerely,Tony KearnsDave WardSenior Deputy General SecretaryGeneral Secretary


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