» Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Royal Mail

Asked if Lord Mandelson s statement to the House of Lords reflected what had been said at this morning s Cabinet about the Royal Mail dispute, the Prime Minister s Spokesman (PMS) said that both Lord Mandelson and Pat McFadden had spoken at Cabinet his morning about this subject and the Government hoped that the strike would not go ahead. We had been encouraging both sides to continue to negotiate, which had been happening today. Lord Mandelson repeated in his statement to the House of Lords that he would like to see ACAS involved, but there was no point in ACAS being involved unless the unions decided to cancel the strike. The prospect of a strike of this type was deeply damaging to Royal Mail s long-term commercial interests, which Lord Mandelson made clear in his statement.

Put that Lord Mandelson mentioned certain contingency plans in his statement for dealing with pensions, the PMS said it was good practice to have such plans in place and it something that Government departments worked on. About ninety per cent of pension payments were now made directly rather than through the traditional Royal Mail route. There were concerns about this matter and the Government hoped that the first wave of strikes would be cancelled.

Asked if anyone disagreed with Lord Mandelson at Cabinet, the PMS said that he would not get into who said what at Cabinet. There was consensus across Government that this was a very difficult situation for Royal Mail, which came at a time when management were looking to modernise the business, of which the Government was supportive. There was a stand off between the unions and the management and we wanted to make sure that they resolved their differences as quickly as possible.

original source.

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