QUADRANT, the Post Office catering arm, has escaped a strike by caterers after caving in to union pressure over job security agreements.
Last week caterers were on the brink of striking after a ballot resulted in a 2:1 vote in favour of action.
But Quadrant then agreed that caterers will be found work elsewhere within the Post Office should any jobs become redundant following the proposed sell-off of 49% of the company to a private firm.
Quadrant's climb-down was seen as a strategic move to avert a major crisis within the Royal Mail.
"We wouldn't have got the agreement without the ballot," said Arthur McGuiness, chief negotiator for the Communication Workers Union. "The knock-on effect could have seen the whole of the Royal Mail staff called out on strike."
Gerry Smith, general manager of Quadrant, said that the agreement gave the company and employees a "firm launch-pad" for its proposed partnership with a private company.