Royal Mail is seeking to use an injunction to block a proposed postal strike over the crucial Christmas period, potentially leaving millions of packages undelivered for weeks.
The High Court will hear an application from the Royal Mail which challenges the legality of the Communication Workers Union’s (CWU) postal ballot.
Strike action is due to take place on unspecified dates across the Christmas period, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, after the CWU voted by an overwhelming majority to take action threatening the first national postal strike in a decade.
CWU members said they are striking because Royal Mail is failing to meet an agreement reached last year, covering a raft of issues including job security and working hours.
“We believe there are potential irregularities in the ballot, which would mean it was unlawful,” The Royal Mail said in a statement.
The postal giant said that the ballot did not conform to the Trade Unions and Labour Regulations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA), which states union members can “vote in the privacy of their own homes” to protect “democratic integrity”, as some workers were made to sign the ballot in the presence of colleagues.
These claims were denied by the CWU, which said last month that 97.1 per cent of its members voted for industrial action, with a turnout of 75 per cent, one of the most decisive results in its history.
As fears mount that the union will strike on Black Friday, new research from consulting firm BearingPoint warns that 8.5 million parcels would have to be handed to private carriers, costing them millions in higher postal fees.
According to BearingPoint’s partner Stuart Higgins, this is likely to have a “huge impact on the British Public”.