Royal Mail workers to take 19 days of strike action in long-running dispute over pay and conditions


Royal Mail workers are to stage 19 strikes in October and November as a continuing dispute over pay and conditions continues.

The Communication Workers Union announced that the action over the next two months will be a mixture of single days and rolling action across the network of the Royal Mail Group. The union expects it to have a “dramatic impact,” with the industrial action covering peak mail periods such as Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday and the Christmas build-up.

Royal Mail workers took four days of industrial action in August and September with more than 100,000 workers taking part, making it the biggest strike of those which took place over the summer. However, the action announced on Tuesday night could be even bigger, with cleaners and engineers also voting to strike over pay.

Read more: Stagecoach bus drivers in Sunderland vote for strike action in pay dispute

The union said the move follows a threat centered around the “outrageous” decision by Royal Mail Group’s senior management to withdraw from major national agreements, push ahead with cuts to workers’ terms and conditions and “completely sideline” the union.

The CWU also said that 90% of Royal Mail cleaners have had no pay rise this year, while engineers and admin members were offered the same 2% pay rise “imposed” across the group. The union is seeking parity with the rest of Royal Mail Group employees in several areas, including pensions, leave entitlement, average holiday pay and paid maternity/paternity leave.



Royal Mail workers strike in August in North Hylton, Sunderland

Dave Ward, CWU general secretary, said: “This is a significant announcement, but it is one which matches the level of anger our members feel at the way Royal Mail Group has treated them. The chief executive of Royal Mail Group is treating postal workers as if they are stupid.

“These are the same people that have kept the country connected and returned Royal Mail Group to record profit. Postal workers across the UK now face the fight of their lives to save their jobs and the service they provide to every household and business in the UK .

“We call on everyone to stand with their local postal worker. If Royal Mail Group are allowed to get away with this then it sends a green light to every rogue big business in the UK. We will not stand by and see the Royal Mail Group become the next HR but we need your backing to win.”

Of the cleaners and engineers striking, Mr Ward added: “I congratulate our members in overcoming the company’s propaganda and standing with their colleagues. During the pandemic, these workers were vital for the functioning of society.

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“Now, they are being treated with complete and utter contempt. It’s a familiar story in Britain today.

“But these workers would have never accepted these terms, and nor will their union, who will now pull out every possible stop to ensure these people get the pay rise they deserve.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “On September 22, Royal Mail invited CWU to enter into talks through Acas to find a resolution to our dispute on change and pay. This evening, rather than responding to our offer of Acas talks, the CWU announced further damaging industrial action, once again taking the path of prolonging disruption over resolution.

“Royal Mail is losing £1 million a day and must change faster in response to changing customer demands. We operate in a competitive market, and our customers have choices.

“Further strikes and resistance to transformation by CWU will only make our financial position worse, and threatens the long-term job security of our postmen and women. The CWU has a responsibility to recognize the reality of the situation Royal Mail faces as a business and engage urgently on the changes required.

“We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimize any delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”

Regarding engineers and cleaners taking industrial action, a Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by the announcement that CWU members in Royal Mail’s Property and Facilities Solutions have, on a turnout of 66.7%, voted in favor of taking industrial action in our negotiation on a new pay deal.

“With negotiations ongoing, and progress being made, this ballot was premature. The CWU’s rush to the ballot box is leading its members towards an increasingly uncertain future.”

Royal mail workers are the latest to go on strike in a wave of industrial action taking place across the country, after Stagecoach bus drivers in Sunderland announced four days of industrial action in October on Monday September 26. Members of the RMT and train drivers having staged strikes over pay and conditions in July and August and due to do so again in October.

Criminal barristers and Newcastle College staff have also taken industrial action in recent months as energy bills are set to rise once again, with the cap on electricity and gas bills almost double what it was in August 2021.

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