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October 03, 2007

Jeremy Black asks, will the postal strike scupper plans for a general election?

Posted by Jeremy Black

As we all now know, it is looking very likely that an election will be called for 1st or 8th November 2007.

A 48-hour postal strike will start this Thursday - 4th October. It will be followed by a further 48-hour postal strike on Monday. As this straddles the weekend, there are unlikely to be any postal deliveries for six days. The CWU, the post workers' union, has threatened a further series of strikes if their demands are not met.

Such a strike during the election period will have serious consequences as postal voting has become more important. If due to such a strike, ballots are not delivered - or postal votes are not counted because they are delayed - this will open the door to any number of challenges to individual results. From the union's point of view - if they want their demands to be met - they would be foolish not to threaten industrial action during the election period.

It is vital that the electoral process is not only fair but that it is above suspicion. If a postal strike hangs over the election, this might prove impossible. How will Gordon Brown deal with this threat? Will he offer the union a quick deal? Will he decide not to call an election this autumn? Or will he risk holding a tainted election?

Jeremy Black is Professor of History, University of Exeter. He is the author - amongst much else - of The Slave Trade (Social Affairs Unit, 2007) and A Short History of Britain (Social Affairs Unit, 2007).

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The post strike is really starting to annoy me i think if the members of the postal service are unable to do their job properly they should be dismissed, i am backing royal mail 100% however the postmen and postwomen complain about nearly everything, if they do not like their salary, go and get another job for Christ's sake, stop being selfish and think about all the other millions of people inside the UK.

Posted by: Unknown at October 13, 2007 12:21 PM
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