Royal Mail has won a court order to block a union ballot that could have resulted in strike action during the election and run-up to Christmas.
The company sought an injunction at the High Court, citing "irregularities" with the voting process which delivered an overwhelming result in favour of walkouts in a long-running dispute over job security and terms of employment.
The High Court has ruled against us. Genuinely this is an utter outrage. 110,000 workers vs the establishment.
We will be live shortly.
Stand strong. We will not be moved #WeRiseAgain
— The CWU (@CWUnews) November 13, 2019
Royal Mail alleged voting violations at more than 70 of its UK sites, including instances of intimidation of staff.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) described the ruling as an "utter outrage".
It had argued in court that the result represented the largest 'yes' vote since the creation of the Trade Union Act three years ago.
It had not announced any strike dates, pending the conclusion of the company's dispute resolution procedure, but rebuffed an offer for talks with no preconditions if it agreed to rule out strikes ahead of the key Christmas delivery season.
Royal Mail had also flagged possible disruption to postal voting ahead of the election if the ballot was allowed to stand.
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Mr Justice Swift ruled there was clear "interference" as the union took advantage of members' employment as postal workers to "encourage" them to take their voting papers from work before they were delivered to their homes, and vote while at work.
He added: "In this case, in respect of the conduct of the general election and the part played in that election by postal votes, there is a relevant wider public interest that is material to my conclusion that an injunction should be granted."
The Union described the election element of the judgment as an "absolute disgrace".
Outside court, CWU general secretary Dave Ward said Royal Mail's action amounted to a "cowardly and vicious
attack on its own workforce" and indicated an appeal was being prepared.
He said: "CWU members will be and are extremely angry and bitterly disappointed that one judge has granted Royal Mail an injunction to invalidate our ballot for strike action.
"We balloted over 110,000 members and they voted by over 97% in favour of strike action in a massive 76% turnout.
"Not one single person out of 110,000 who were balloted complained to Royal Mail that their right to vote was interfered with.>Read More – Source