Royal Mail offers CWU talks without preconditions if it gives up on walkout threats


The UK postal operator has been put in a difficult situation by the CWU – the union is threatening with nationwide strikes right at the busiest period of the year – Christmas.  Royal Mail has made a desperate plea to restart talks in a bid to avoid nationwide strikes at Christmas.

The postal service provider has written to the Communications Workers Union with an offer to enter into discussions – without preconditions – only if the union gives up on its plans of a nationwide strike during the festive period.


This feud between Royal Mail and the CWU has been going on for quite a while, members of the CWU – which represent more than two-thirds of Royal Mail’s 140.000 strong workforce. The majority has voted for industrial action – union leaders have six months to act on the mandate.

“If the CWU agrees to rule out industrial action for the remainder of the calendar year — a critical time for our customers, we will commit to holding open discussions with no preconditions aimed at resolving the dispute.” – Ricky McAulay – national Service Delivery Director

If the workers decide to stick tot heir plans, these strikes before the Christmas period could wreak havoc on deliveries – mainly cards and gifts, which means that this could give Royal Mail’s rivals an advantage in the parcels market – DPD, Hermes and Yodel.

The CWU leaders have accused the company of not respecting the “ spirit and intent” of the labour agreement that was signed last year, which included a pledge tor reduce weekly working hours without pay cuts. The organization is also unhappy with the new technology, alleged bullying and the new organizational culture under the chief executive, Rico Back, who took charge of the organization back in 2018.

In their claims, the CWU has stated that Royal Mail has rejected the recommendations from the report, making it impossible for the talks to resolve the issues.

The mediator’s report is out – meaning that they are at the last two steps of the mediation process:

  • If either party is unable to accept the mediator’s recommendations then they will have an additional 2 week period is for further negotiations. The disagreeing party is expected to advise the reasons for rejecting the recommendations and their alternative suggestions.
  • If by this stage agreement hasn’t been met then the parties will write to each other to notify of their intentions. It is at this point that the CWU could notify Royal Mail of their lawful intention to call for strikes before the Christmas period.

We can say for sure that if the two sides don’t come to an agreement in the next few weeks that the Communications Workers Union will move forward with their agenda, and will call for strike action – potentially as soon as Black Friday and then the run-up period to Christmas.


“Royal Mail Group’s position in this dispute is born out of dogma and raised on deceit. Today’s press release is a total sham designed to undermine the CWU and any prospect of an agreement.

The ‘significant step’ they refer to was actually proposed by the CWU on the 8th of October 2019. That offer was to move immediately from mediation to formal negotiations with the proposal that the CWU would not give any notice to take industrial action for effectively six weeks, at which point we would reflect on the genuine nature of the negotiations.

RMG rejected that offer in preference to wait for the external Mediator’s report. They refused to meet all last week and only offered a 4 hour slot this week.

Their letter referred to in their press release was emailed late yesterday after 17.00hrs and was the subject of a press release before we met today. Ask yourself, is this the actions of people trying to resolve this dispute? Equally today they have rejected significant recommendations from the external Mediator’s report making it impossible for talks to resolve all issues.

We will consult with the CWU Executive tomorrow and determine our response.”
– Terry Pullinger, Deputy General Secretary (Postal), CWU Source: