Royal Mail Group will today make an application to the High Court in an attempt to block a strike that will disrupt Christmas deliveries.
The company claims there are “potential irregularities” in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) ballot to strike, which would mean the recent vote was unlawful. It said it has also contacted communications regulator Ofcom over its concerns.
Earlier this week, business secretary Andrea Leadsom claimed that the timing of the strike was “clearly politically calculated” and a “preview of things to come if Jeremy Corbyn is ever allowed near the keys to Number 10”.
In a statement, Royal Mail said: “The company is making this High Court application because the integrity and legal soundness of any electoral process is vital. This is particularly the case in relation to potential industrial action around the general election on 12 December 2019.
“Royal Mail is also making this application because of the damage industrial action would do to the company and its customers in the run-up to Christmas.”
The company has claimed that members were instructed to open their ballot papers at delivery offices, where they were encouraged to vote in favour of strikes while among their workmates.
It added: “Royal Mail’s procedures make it clear that employees cannot open their mail at the delivery office without the prior authorisation of their manager. Alongside our application for an injunction, we will review whether any further action is required,” the company said.
CWU has denied the allegations “in the strongest terms”. General secretary Dave Ward said: “It will be clear to all of our members and everybody connected with Royal Mail and this dispute that the CEO and his board will go to any lengths to deny the democratic mandate of our members to stand together and fight for their future and the very future of UK postal services.
“Instead the company are pressing on regardless with their asset stripping plans to set up a separate parcels business and let thousands upon thousands of jobs wither on the vine.”
TUC general secretary reacted to the news that Royal Mail was seeking an injunction by saying “You’ve got to be kidding. Workers want change and a new deal at work. Royal Mail should stop wasting everyone’s time and get round the table.”
CWU voted in favour of strike action last month by 97%, claiming that Royal Mail did not honour its pledges to reform pensions and working hours.