Royal Mail’s (RMG.L) largest labour union said on Friday it could call a strike as early as next month, raising the threat of a first national stoppage in a decade at the former British postal monopoly.
Hopes for a settlement grew on Thursday when Royal Mail proposed a 6% pay rise as part of a three-year deal with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
But the CWU said on Friday that there are broader issues at stake as the Royal Mail, which employs around 143,000 people in Britain, seeks to adapt to an era in which fewer letters are sent and the focus shifts to parcels.
“The pay offer is not linked to the dispute. We are balloting on the direction of the company, them breaching national agreements, the culture of the workplace,” the CWU said on Friday.
“The ballot is definitely still going ahead. Papers are dispatched on March 3, (it) closes on the 17th and the earliest we could call action would be March 31,” the CWU said.
Shares in the FTSE 250 firm traded 1.2% lower at 180.3 pence by 0955 GMT and remain well below the 330 pence price at which they listed in 2013.
The company’s German chief executive, Rico Back, had pledged last May to invest 1.8 billion pounds in his five-year plan to transform the UK business into a sustainably profitable operation.