https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/1 ... ng-strike/Revealed: Postal workers' secret plot to wreck the election by going on strikeRoyal Mail workers are planning to disrupt the election by refusing to deliver postal vote
31 OCTOBER 2019 • 9:30PM
Postal workers are plotting to disrupt the election by going on strike in the weeks before the vote, the Telegraph has learned.
The Royal Mail has written to trade union bosses pleading with them not to “threaten the integrity of our democracy” by refusing to deliver millions of postal votes, it is understood.
It comes after members of the Communication Workers Union, which represents more than two-thirds of Royal Mail’s 140,000-strong workforce, voted overwhelmingly for industrial action earlier this month.
Union leaders now plan to deliberately target the election by staging a mass walkout in the weeks before December 12. Last night Consevative MPs accused the CWU of attempting to “hold British democracy to ransom”.
Any significant disruption to the postal voting system would leave the final result open to legal challenge, experts warned. Political parties would also be prevented from sending campaign leaflets to households across the country.
Terry Pullinger, the postal deputy general secretary of the CWU, revealed union leaders had now officially threatened the Royal Mail with a pre-election walkout, as well as disruption to the busy Christmas period. Talks with the postal operator are due to end next Friday.
Earlier this week the Royal Mail offered to enter into further discussions without preconditions if the threat of strike action was delayed until 2020 - but the offer was swiftly rejected.
"It's now our policy to target the election. There’s no law saying we can’t do that," Mr Pullinger told the Telegraph last night.
“The Royal Mail has told us not to threaten the integrity of our democracy by going on strike.
"But I can tell you, we're not the ones who are threatening democracy. It's the Royal Mail doing that by refusing to listen to their workers.
“I can’t see any way that these talks will be successful. So I can’t see any way of avoiding strike action before the election.”
At the last election in 2017 nearly one in five people were registered to vote by post - more than 8.2 million in total. It is expected that the proportion may rise this year because the election is being held in winter.
Postal vote requests are much more common among elderly people - and nearly half of Conservative voters are 65 or older. Tory MPs last night raised fears that the Corbyn-supporting CWU was trying to boost Labour’s chances.
Steve Double MP accused trade union bosses of “blatant opportunism” and said they were “simply wrong” to target the election.
“If this is an attempt to rig the election in favour of Corbyn then that is shameful,” he said.
“People may have genuine industrial grievances but no one should be able to hoild British democracy to ransom in this way.”
Union leaders have accused Royal Mail of failing to honour an agreement that included a pledge to reduce working hours without pay cuts. Postal workers are also unhappy with new technology and an alleged culture of bullying under chief executive Rico Back, who took charge in June 2018. Royal Mail says it has honoured the agreement in full.
Shane O’Riordain, Royal Mail Managing Director of Regulation and Corporate Affairs said: “The recent ballot for industrial action does not necessarily mean that industrial action will take place. Royal Mail very much understands the importance of ensuring that election mail reaches voters in a timely fashion.”