The High Court has granted an injunction halting Britain’s first planned national walkout by postal workers.
Royal Mail had applied to block industrial action led by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) after claiming it was “unlawful” – as the union had failed to follow previously agreed upon dispute resolution procedures.
It alleged that the union is in breach of its contractual obligation not to call for strike action until the external mediation process – which began in October – is exhausted.
Granting the injunction Mr Justice Supperstone said: “I consider the strike call to be unlawful and the defendant is obliged to withdraw its strike call until the external mediation process has been exhausted.”
Royal Mail said in a statement: “We will now make contact with the CWU as a matter of urgency to begin the process of external mediation.
“We are very committed to working closely with the CWU in order to reach agreement as a matter of priority.”
The CWU said it was “extremely disappointed” at the ruling, describing it as “a desperate delaying tactic from a board who are increasingly out of touch with the views of its workforce”.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “The company are deluded if they believe their courtroom politics will resolve this dispute. Instead, the company’s actions will have the complete opposite effect.
“Postal workers’ attitude towards the company will harden and it makes us more determined than ever to defend our members’ pensions, jobs, service and achieve our objectives.”
Earlier this month, a strike ballot of the CWU’s 110,000 members had resulted in an 89.1 vote in favour of industrial action.