Postal workers are waiting to hear today if they'll be asked to vote on a deal between the CWU and Royal Mail, ten days after it was agreed.
CWU bosses Billy Hayes and Dave Ward met with Royal Mail's Adam Crozier and Allan Leighton on the 12th of October, signing a deal just hours after Royal Mail had gained an injunction to prevent further strike action scheduled for the beginning of last week.
The agreement was then taken to the CWU's Postal Executive Committee (PEC), who decide whether to recommend it to the membership for a vote. What would normally be a formality has lasted ten days, with many rumours about both the content of the deal and political pressure from Gordon Brown, and a late night meeting at TUC headquarters on Thursday. It was claimed that Gordon Brown spoke to Billy Hayes twice last week telling him to push the deal through the PEC, with an expectation of a job in New Labour once this dispute blows over. Hayes would be following in the footsteps of Secretary of State of Health Alan Johnson, who held the same position before becoming an MP.
Strike action unaffected by the injunction was also called off towards the end of last week, as postal workers became increasingly frustrated by the lack of information from CWU headquarters - about either the content of the deal or progress on talks. Wildcat strikes in East and South London came to an end early last week, although Liverpool voted to stay out until they'd seen the contents of the agreement in writing, and were joined by workers in Leeds, on wildcat for the first time during this dispute. Workers in Liverpool eventually decided not to wait for the CWU leadership to communicate due to persistent delays, and were told at the meeting to check the royalmailchat.co.uk site for updates rather than cwu.org - which hasn't been updated since two sentences on 18th October. This has caused increasing frustration amongst many postal workers, and it is likely that new unofficial industrial action will be launched when the deal is announced.
Details leaked to royalmailchat suggest the PEC has asked for a number of amendments to the deal, although Royal Mail stated last week that they wouldn't budge from the terms already agreed last Friday. It is understood that the PEC voted 9-5 in favour, on the condition that all executive action by Royal Mail be lifted, however this is unlikely to include many changes brought in by executive action since August including unpopular later start times. Two members also reserved the right to campaign against the deal if it was put to a vote, suggesting many measures around annualised hours and flexibility will remain. Meanwhile the BBC and other media reported a pay rise of "6.9% over two years", although the timing and conditions attached to this reveal a real terms increase of 2-2.5% per year, with no option to negotiate again for 18 months.
Given last week's delays, it is possible that no announcement will be made today, however we will update as soon as further information emerges.