The Royal Mail ballot result comes after 18 days of strikes and rallies such as the one in Parliament Square last December (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Postal workers have voted to keep fighting to save the future of their jobs and pay, in a strike ballot that ended on Thursday.

 The ballot saw members of the CWU union vote for strikes by almost 96 percent on a turnout of 77 percent. It shows that after 18 days of strikes over more than six months, Royal Mail workers are still up for the fight.

It also comes after Royal Mail bosses have turned the screw on them in the nearly two months since they last took action, while union leaders held strikes off for negotiations.

Following the result, CWU general secretary Dave Ward said he would delay calling action for at least another week longer for more “refresh talks”.

These would supposedly be with different representatives from Royal Mail’s board. They are also being facilitated by former Trades Union Congress general secretary Sir Brendan Barber—knighted by the Tories after helping to sell out pensions strikes in 2011.

Ward had previously said that winning the ballot would be enough to push bosses into an agreement. He told a press conference on Thursday that the union would “call strike action if that’s necessary.”

He also said the union’s leading postal executive committee could discuss that when it meets on Wednesday next week. But, he added, “What we are saying to Royal Mail is, we don’t want to be in that position.”

Ward also suggested that the union wouldn’t call strikes as long as Royal Mail managers stopped suspending union reps and members, and stopped pushing through changes without union agreement.

And, adopting a conciliatory tone, he said union leaders wanted to work with Royal Mail board members to deliver “change” to Royal Mail. 

CWU acting deputy general secretary Andy Furey appealed to bosses to “Come to the negotiating table, thrash out a reasonable deal and we will help to deliver that change.”

Yet the board’s vision of change rests on tearing up workers’ jobs and working conditions to transform Royal Mail into a “gig-economy” style parcel courier. Throughout the dispute, they’ve used talks to get union leaders to delay action—then pushed ahead with forcing that through.

Royal Mail has already begun recruiting new workers on worse terms and conditions, and forcing harder, longer work onto existing ones.

That shows the urgency of calling strikes now—and not stopping until bosses have been forced to drop that plan altogether.

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