Royal Mail workers set to walk out over pay in ‘summer’s biggest strike’
The strike on Friday will be followed by further stoppages on Wednesday August 31, Thursday September 8 and Friday September 9
More than 100,000 postal workers will walk out on Friday in a dispute over pay, in what is being described as the biggest strike of the summer so far.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said its members are taking industrial action for a “dignified, proper pay rise” after they voted in favour by 97.6 percent in a ballot.
The strike on Friday will be followed by further stoppages on Wednesday August 31, Thursday September 8 and Friday September 9.
The union said management imposed a 2 percent pay rise on employees, yet they were classified as key workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In an economic climate where inflation looks set to soar to 18 percent by January 2023, the imposition will lead to a dramatic reduction in workers’ living standards,” said a union spokesman.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “On Friday, we will see a tremendous outpouring of workers’ unity in villages, towns and cities across the country.
“There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve.
“We can’t keep on living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks.
“When Royal Mail bosses are raking in £758 million in profit and shareholders pocketing in excess of £400 million, our members won’t accept pleads of poverty from the company.
“Postal workers won’t meekly accept their living standards being hammered by greedy business leaders who are completely out of touch with modern Britain.
“They are sick of corporate failure getting rewarded again and again.
“Royal Mail’s leadership have lost the dressing room – and unless they make efforts to get real on discussing a pay rise that postal workers deserve, serious disruption will continue.”
CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said: “Our members worked miracles during the pandemic and know full well what they are worth.
“They are fighting for a no-strings, real-terms pay rise – something they are fully entitled to.
“Those managing Royal Mail Group are treating our members with contempt by imposing such a minimal amount.
“Royal Mail Group have failed to recognise the strength of feeling and have clearly lost the dressing room on pay, so they have left us with no choice but to fight.
“Our members deserve a pay rise that rewards their fantastic achievements in keeping the country connected during the pandemic, but also helps them keep up during this current economic crisis.
“We won’t be backing down until we get just that.”
Royal Mail said it has “well-developed contingency plans” to minimise disruption, focused on getting mail delivery back to normal as quickly as possible after strike action.
The company said that on days when strike action is taking place, it will deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked24 parcels as possible, prioritising the delivery of Covid test kits and medical prescriptions.
Customers are advised to post items as early as possible in advance of the strike dates, adding that collections will be less frequent on strike days.
The union is also in dispute with Royal Mail over efficiencies.
A company spokesperson said: “We are losing £1 million a day, and we need to change what we are doing to fix the situation and protect jobs.
“This change is also needed to support the pay package we have offered to CWU grade colleagues, worth up to 5.5 percent.
“This is the biggest increase we have offered for many years and the CWU have rejected it. This would add around £230 million to Royal Mail’s annual people costs when the business is already loss-making.”
The union said it will be the biggest strike of the summer, following walkouts by workers in other sectors such as rail, telecoms and the legal profession.