Following government confirmation yesterday that Royal Mail is to be privatised, with an initial public offering in the coming weeks, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) confirmed its intent to carry out a planned ballot of 125,000 members on 20 September for a national postal strike.

The CWU will announce the result on 3 October, with seven days’ notice necessary before any industrial action could begin, meaning workers could strike from 10 October.

But Royal Mail chief executive Moya Green has criticised the move.

She said: “Talk of a ballot for industrial action makes no sense when there is a significant three-year deal on the table and negotiations are ongoing. It is now time for Royal Mail and the CWU to come to a new agreement for our people going forward.

“I understand our people’s concern that they should have protections in place as Royal Mail is privatised, which is why we have proposed a ground-breaking three-year, legally binding agreement including a highly competitive pay offer of 8.6%.

“But the company and our customers need protections too. We want to ensure that, in future, any disputes are settled through dialogue, mediation and arbitration.

“It is because our customers trust us and value the service we provide that there should not be a strike at this crucial time. If businesses can’t rely on us, they will look elsewhere to protect their own business.”

The CWU is in dispute with the national postal service over pay and conditions. Open-ended talks between the two sides are ongoing with, as yet, no settlement being reached.

In June, a consultative ballot of CWU members voted overwhelmingly (96%) against privatisation and in favour of the CWU pay claim and a policy of non-cooperation. Of the 74% who responded, 92% also supported a boycott of DSA providers.

Yesterday, the CWU confirmed that it was seeking legal advice on how to incorporate such a boycott as part of any industrial action that may take place.