» Thursday, October 22, 2009

Royal Mail Strike

Asked if it was in the Government’s best interest for the disputing parties to attend ACAS, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said the two parties needed to express themselves willing to sit down with ACAS and so far the Royal Mail management team had said they don’t think that would be appropriate until the threat of a strike was lifted.

Asked if the Government agreed with Royal Mail’s position, the PMS replied that the Government would wish to see ACAS being used if both parties can agree the terms on which they attend. The PMS told assembled press the Prime Minister had said the only way to solve an industrial dispute is by management and workforce getting together and that Lord Mandelson had said they should look to use ACAS, that’s what ACAS is there for and I hope they will do so.

Asked repeatedly if the Prime Minister though ACAS should get involved without any pre-conditions from either side, the PMS said the Government position is that it is for the two parties to resolve the industrial dispute, the Government wants to do as much as it can in persuading the two parties to talk but it is ultimately for the two parties to come together. To further questions the PMS replied that the Prime Minister believed ACAS could be used to resolve the dispute and it is for the two parties to come to a position where that is the right thing to do. The PMS referred the assembled press to the statements made during the day by the Communication Workers Union and the Royal Mail.

Put that the Government owned Royal Mail and the Prime Minister could direct the parties to ACAS, the PMS said Lord Mandelson had been clear when he said the parties should look to use ACAS, that’s what ACAS is there for and hoped they would do so.

Put that earlier in the week Lord Mandelson had said in the Lords that it would be better if the threat of strike action was lifted, thus agreeing with Royal Mail, the PMS said if the parties cannot find a resolution then they should look to ACAS to help, that has always been the position. The PMS said Lord Mandelson had been referring back to the Royal Mail management’s position and expectation.

Asked if and when the Government could order Royal Mail to attend ACAS, the PMS said it would not make sense for any party to order this action, it would make more sense for the two parties to come together and agree between them what topics should be negotiated. The PMS said there were serious risks around the strike and the Government and the Prime Minister had said this action was self-defeating. The PMS said it was for the two parties to understand and realise they need to reach a stage where they are prepared to sit down together.

original source.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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