Business group the CBI has pleaded with Royal Mail postal workers to prevent them from striking this Christmas.
Yesterday the results of a nationwide ballot of Royal Mail Communication and Workers Union (CWU) members delivered a majority ‘yes’ vote in favour of strike action.
The local strikes which have already taken place this summer have left an estimated backlog of 20 million items of undelivered post, and if a nationwide strike is called, this will cause further major disruption, according to the CWU.
John Cridland, CBI deputy-director general, said: “This is a very disappointing outcome for millions of households and businesses that rely on Royal Mail, particularly as only 40% of its workforce voted for strike action.
“After a very tough year, serious disruption to the postal service would present a real threat to those firms pinning their hopes on a pre-Christmas sales bounce. We need common sense to prevail and lasting damage to be avoided.”
Three-quarters of the workers who voted in the nationwide ballot were in favour of striking. The turnout was 67%.
Local strikes have already occurred across the UK since the last week of June in response to job cuts and modernisation plans. Postal workers in London have now taken some industrial action every week for 15 weeks.
The last national postal strike was in 2007.
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “This is a huge vote of no confidence in Royal Mail management.
“The company has tried to make out that problems only exist in some local offices, but postal workers across the UK have now spoken and they say no to Royal Mail’s arrogance.”
Ward added there was still an opportunity to reach an agreement before any national strike took place.