CWU says workers being “mugged off” by Royal Mail after strike action announced

Katie Neame

Communication Workers Union general secretary Dave Ward has said people are being “mugged off” by the Royal Mail Group after the union announced that 115,000 postal workers will take four days of strike action in the coming weeks.

The CWU confirmed on Tuesday that it had served notice to the company management that postal workers will go on strike on August 26th, August 31st, September 8th and September 9th.

Appearing on TalkTV this morning, Ward said: “What our job is is to defend workers who have done a great service, provided a fantastic service throughout the pandemic, and what the company have done is simply unacceptable.

“And we’ve got a massive mandate, a record-breaking mandate – over 97% in a 77% turnout of 115,000 workers – voted for this strike action.

“We’ve been incredibly patient with the company to try and find a negotiated settlement. But I think people, frankly, they’re just being mugged off, and I think people understand how unfair the company’s position is.”

The CWU general secretary 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”.

Ward declared: “It’s pie in the sky, our members have seen through that, and unfortunately – we’ve still got a couple of weeks where we’re open for negotiations – but we are determined to show the company that the members are not going to put up with this type of behaviour any more.”

He added: “Can I also say, 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 CWU has demanded that the Royal Mail Group enters into negotiations to ensure a real-terms pay increase for workers. It argued that the 2% pay rise imposed by management on workers would lead to a “dramatic reduction in workers’ living standards” given the current level of inflation.

Confirming the strike action on Tuesday, Ward said: “Nobody takes the decision to strike lightly, but postal workers are being pushed to the brink.

“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.”

He added: “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. The CWU’s message to Royal Mail’s leadership is simple – there will be serious disruption until you get real on pay.”

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