Royal Mail workers have overwhelmingly voted to undertake industrial action that could affect Christmas deliveries for thousands who only send parcels in the holiday period.
As the holiday retail rush fast approaches, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) which represents 110,000 postal staff have voted by a nearly 90 per cent majority to strike.
This comes as e-commerce is likely to nudge ahead of in-store shopping for the first time.
Postal executives are set to meet later this week to discuss potential dates for strike action which could take place anytime over the next six months.
The unrest was sparked over workers‘ pensions after Royal Mail announced the closure of its defined benefit scheme earlier this year.
The CWU said it was driven to action because of “the company’s attack on the pension rights of hard-working postmen and women and the refusal of the employer to engage seriously over pay, working hours, future job security and the need to improve and grow the service to the public”.
Royal Mail have taken a stern response to the proposed action stating it makes it “harder to pay for the great terms and conditions we provide for our employees”.
“In 2013, Royal Mail and the CWU committed to the Agenda for Growth (AFG) – a legally binding agreement,” it added.
“Royal Mail has brought to the CWU‘s attention the contractual dispute resolution procedures included in the AFG, which both sides are required to follow once instigated.
“They escalate to independent external mediation, which we expect will take close to Christmas to be completed, and may be longer. We believe these dispute resolution procedures must be followed. The union cannot take industrial action until they have been completed.”
ParcelHero‘s head of consumer research David Jinks added that “for some families the timing of any strike or work to rule could mean that Christmas is cancelled by this action”.
“If industrial action goes into the seasonal period it will have a huge impact. Even if the strikes are limited; it will have significant consequences across the industry as other delivery companies try to absorb the extra volumes at this hugely busy period.”