The threat of a Post Office strike at the end of March is receding, according to sources within the Royal Mail.
Although Communication Workers Union members at over 300 crown post office branches in the U.K. voted by 9 to 1 to strike over closures and pay, the industrial action will not go ahead if the postal ballot results do not arrive at the CWU general office in Wimbledon in time.
According to the Industrial Action Code of Conduct agreed by employers and unions alike, no strike action can be organised unless the official ballot results are lodged and notarised at the appropriate union's headquarters by no later than the 9th of the month immediately preceding the date of the intended action.
An embarrassed CWU admitted "At present, we are not 100% certain of the exact whereabouts of the final ballot result.
It was posted at a Central Manchester branch on Friday morning, but unfortunately the union official in question did not have a first class stamp on their person and it had to be mailed second class.
Given the long standing problems associated with second class mail, its by no means certain that the missive will arrive at union headquarters by the deadline.
Unless the ballot result arrives in time, we will have no alternative but to go through the whole process again".