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CWU conference votes for ballot on mail boycott

Postal workers have today (Tuesday, 23rd April 2013) voted unanimously for a full ballot of Royal Mail workers on a boycott of private mail companies' 'final mile' mail as part of the union's moves to protect the universal service (USO) and prevent privatisation of Royal Mail.

Private (downstream access/'final mile') mail makes up 44% of the daily mail bag. Royal Mail says its average daily mailbag is 58 million items, meaning a boycott would leave 26 million items undelivered each day. These would include bills, statements, and business mail contracts won by companies including TNT and UK Mail under what the CWU describes as unfair competition and cherry-picking.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: "The tired old policies of privatisation have failed services for decades. We're balloting our members to back our position to protect the universal service, oppose privatisation and expose the damage that cherry-picking and unfair competition will do to postal services if left unchanged.

"Privatisation is definitely not the answer to the challenges facing Royal Mail. It will mean the break-up of the company, the franchising of delivery rounds and the end of the USO. Because private companies work for profit, not for people.

"Marketisation and privatisation are two sides of same coin. The mail boycott is part of our overall strategy to protect postal services. Yes, the USO is enshrined in law, but it can't survive with the cherry-picking which is currently allowed. The economic reality will kick the chair away from the legislative position and we cannot allow that to happen.

"Once TNT and/or other companies have more street deliveries they will switch their DSA (downstream access) mail from Royal Mail, that profit will disappear from the company and the USO will collapse. Rural areas will undoubtedly fare worst.

"We can influence government policy, we can stop the sale of Royal Mail, we will protect the postal service for customers, and we will protect our members' jobs."

CWU will ballot 120,000 members in Royal Mail Group. The ballot will open on May 22 and close on June 18 with the result being announced on June 19. Ballot papers will be returned to independent scrutineers.