Labour Research December 2009


Key disputes are put on hold

The CWU postal union’s dispute with Royal Mail was put on hold on 5 November with an interim agreement to allow negotiations on modernisation.

On a smaller but still significant scale, the Unite general union withdrew its notice of industrial action at IT company Fujitsu that was due to commence on 12 November, in a dispute over redundancies and pensions. In both cases negotiators were looking for results by the end of the year, as Labour Research went to press.

The agreement at Royal Mail committed union and employer to accelerate and complete the modernisation programme, jointly resolving “all issues” from phase four of the 2007 agreement.

Roger Poole, former assistant general secretary of the UNISON public services union, has been appointed as an independent person to oversee and monitor progress, and assist at the request of either party in resolving difficulties. Progress will be formally reviewed on a fortnightly basis, with significant progress to be made by early December.

Constructive talks at Fujitsu mean Unite has withdrawn notice of industrial action, but the timescale within which it can call industrial action under its ballot has been extended.

The parties agreed to have further talks with the aim of agreeing a resolution by Christmas 2009, or a way to continue dialogue. Consultation over pensions, one of the key issues in the dispute, will continue until at least 31 January 2010.