115,000 postal workers to begin “biggest strike of summer so far” from Friday

Katie Neame
© vebboy/Shutterstock.com

Postal workers will go on strike on Friday in the first of four days of industrial action over the coming weeks, which the Communication Workers Union said would be the “biggest strike of summer so far”.

Approximately 115,000 CWU members who work for the Royal Mail Group are expected to walk out on Friday in a dispute over pay and conditions. Further action is planned for August 31st, September 8th and September 9th.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said today: “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 £758m in profit and shareholders pocketing in excess of £400m, 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 members voted by almost 98% on a 77% turnout to take strike action in a recent ballot. The union is demanding that the Royal Mail Group give workers a “dignified, proper pay rise” that covers the rising cost of living.

Speaking to TalkTV after the strike action was first announced, Ward said the Royal Mail Group had “imposed, not negotiated” a 2% pay rise and were claiming that they’d offered a 5.5% uplift. He stressed: “That’s simply not true.”

Ward added: “They want a further 1.5% link to us basically agreeing a levelling down agenda on terms and conditions and services, and we’re not going to do that.”

He told viewers that the Royal Mail Group was also offering a ‘bonus scheme’ but added that the company “can’t even explain what it is or when our members are going to get that money”.

“After imposing 2% against record profits of £753m, they chose to give shareholders £400m and they also chose to reward themselves with £2m of bonuses. It’s not on,” the union leader declared.

The CWU stressed that a 2% pay rise would lead to a “dramatic reduction in workers’ living standards” given forecasts that inflation could hit 18% early next year.

CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said today: “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.”

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