Royal Mail has won an injunction preventing postal workers from striking for 48 hours next week in a protest over pensions, wages and jobs.

Workers had planned to walk out from October 19, with a strike ballot of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) 110,000 members producing an 89.1% ‘in favour’ vote from a 73.7% turnout.

Royal Mail had told the CWU that any walkout would be illegal if it failed to follow the dispute resolution process, which is now expected to run until Christmas and so miss the peak period for retailers.

Yesterday, that was upheld at the High Court, with the Royal Mail obtaining an injunction against the strike, which would have been the first since the Royal Mail was privatised four years ago.

The CWU said it was “extremely disappointed” with the ruling, which it described as “a desperate delaying tactic from a board who are increasingly out of touch with the views of its workforce”.

Royal Mail said: “We will now make contact with the CWU as a matter of urgency to begin the process of external mediation. We are very committed to working closely with the CWU in order to reach agreement as a matter of priority.”

Royal Mail revealed in March that it was set to close its current defined benefit scheme claiming that, although the fund is currently in surplus, contributions at the current level would render it unsustainable.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “The company are deluded if they believe their courtroom politics will resolve this dispute. Instead, the company’s actions will have the complete opposite effect.

“Postal workers’ attitude towards the company will harden and it makes us more determined than ever to defend our members’ pensions, jobs, service and achieve our objectives.”