» Thursday, October 22, 2009

Postal Strike

Asked if the Government had played any part in the scuppering of an agreement between Royal Mail and the union, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister had said a few words about the postal strike this morning and made clear that it was incumbent on the sides to get together. The Government was doing what it could to make the resumption of talks possible, but the only way an industrial dispute could be resolved was for the management and the workforce to get together. This strike would be self-defeating if it meant that less people used Royal Mail. The Prime Minister felt that this was soluble, that the two parties could reach a solution and should do so as quickly as possible.

Asked if the Government knew whether it had been the union or Royal Mail who had scuppered talks on Tuesday when a deal had been close, the PMS said that Royal Mail had just issued a statement saying that its door was still open to sign the agreement negotiated with the Communications Workers Union (CWU) on Tuesday night and there was nothing more to add to that.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought that the CWU should call off the strike, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had consistently said that he thought a strike would be self-defeating and that it was essential for the two parties involved to get together. It was regrettable that the strike had started but there was still the opportunity for a negotiated settlement.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought that it was in the best interests of the nation to stay at arm’s length from the situation, the PMS said that he would not describe the Government’s involvement as having been at arm’s length; the Prime Minister had been liaising very closely with Lord Mandelson and Pat McFadden, both of whom had responsibilities for Royal Mail. Lord Mandelson had said this morning that it was important that both sides talked to each other, and if they were unable to find a resolution then they should look to ACAS to help them to do so.

Asked what the Prime Minister thought of the claim that Lord Mandelson was a saboteur , the PMS said that the Prime Minister had complete confidence that Lord Mandelson was doing all he could to encourage the two parties involved to get together, which was the most important pre-requisite in sorting out this industrial dispute.

Asked what the Government had against ACAS getting involved, the PMS said that the position remained the same; it would be sensible for the strike to be called off before ACAS were involved. Lord Mandelson had said that both parties should look to ACAS to help them if they were unable to find a resolution.

Asked what the Government’s position was on bringing back the bill to sell off part of Royal Mail, the PMS said that the position remained as set out by Lord Mandelson earlier in the year; it had been a manifesto commitment of the Government that the Royal Mail should remain as a publicly owned company. The opportunity that had been looked at was a partnership not privatisation, and Lord Mandelson had stated in his statement in July that the market conditions made it impossible to conclude the process. It was never a privatisation proposal, rather a proposal to bring in a commercial partner.

Put that that could be characterised as part-privatisation, the PMS said that he did not agree; it was a decision to bring in a commercial partner, who may or may not have taken a stake in the business.

original source.

Briefing took place at 10:00 | Search for related news


  1. The posties have been rewarded for the changes agreed in 2007, now get back to work. Billy Hayes and Dave Ward haven’t lost a penny, only you idiots!!!

    Comment by themole — 24 Oct 2009 on 6:46 pm | Link
  2. Numerous companies on http://www.senditquicker.com and elsewhere online are advertising alternative delivery services, so customers can put their money where there mouth is while management and posties engage in uncertain talks.

    Comment by Linda — 25 Oct 2009 on 7:51 am | Link

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