13 October 2017 #Employment
Since March 2017, under the Trade Union Act, strikes require a turnout of at least 50% of all eligible voters. In the first large scale vote since the legislation came into force, postal workers represented by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) have voted to strike with a turnout of 73.7% easily passing this 50% threshold. Of those who voted an overwhelming 89% backed the strike.
The CWU’s ability to mobilise such a large turnout may give encouragement to other unions. Those in favour represent 65.59% of all eligible voters, more than the 40% threshold required had it been an “important public service” like health or transport.
Royal Mail are planning to replace the current career average based pension scheme with a less generous defined-contribution scheme. The strong support for the Royal Mail strike is hardly surprising: reforming pension schemes is often a very contentious issue and has been the cause of recent industrial action at several companies.
Despite beating the legislative threshold, CWU may still face a challenge as Royal Mail claim that they have an agreement with the CWU that put in place a dispute resolution process prior to industrial action and have threatened court action to block any strike.