Royal Mail has halted Britain's first planned national walkout by postal workers since it was privatised, after successfully applying for a high court injunction. The last mass industrial action among postal workers was in 2009.
That position was reinforced by a tweet from the union, which said: "Royal Mail won the injunction but we stand here with 90% yes vote and more strike action ready to come".
But the High Court today sided with Royal Mail's contention that the proposed industrial action was in breach of a side agreement mandating further actions must first take place.
Today's ruling means that any strike action taken before the dispute resolution procedures have been followed would be unlawful.
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"Following 18 months of negotiations, including external mediation, the company" s actions are nothing more than a desperate delaying tactic from a board who are increasingly out of touch with the views of its workforce.
Last week, 89% of the CWU's 111,000 workers backed a walkout in a dispute over pensions, pay and jobs, with 74% of members turning out to vote.
The court action is the latest twist in a bitter row between the union and Royal Mail.
He said: "The company are deluded if they believe their courtroom politics will resolve this dispute".
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Royal Mail said it would now begin the process of external mediation, which is likely to take at least until the end of the year to complete.
In granting the order, 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".
CWU disagreed, calling Royal Mail's legal challenge "underhanded" and "a deliberate attempt to misinterpret and use the agreement to stop postal workers exercising our right to strike".
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