CWU confirms 24-hour postal strike and demands Royal Mail drop “nasty games”

Katie Neame

Communication Workers Union general secretary Dave Ward has urged Royal Mail to “drop the nasty games” and take negotiations seriously after the union announced a 24-hour strike by postal workers, their first walkout of the new year.

The CWU revealed today that more than 115,000 of its members in the postal service will take part in industrial action from 12:30pm on February 16th to 12:30pm the following day, the latest in a series of strikes by the union as part of its dispute with Royal Mail over pay and working conditions.

The union said its elected leadership had called the strike after the company began “forcing through unagreed changes” to the structure of work at offices across the country, which the CWU claimed was “in direct contravention” of the industrial relations framework agreed between the union and the employer.

The CWU alleged that the changes “in effect” represent the removal of the union’s right to negotiate at a local level, which it said “must be viewed as a real step towards the derecognition of the union”.

Ward accused Royal Mail of showing a “complete lack of integrity”, declaring: “Our members will not just sit back and watch as their working lives are destroyed by a company leadership hell-bent on ripping up historic arrangements that protect their rights and give them a voice through their union.

“It is postal workers who keep this company going and this country connected – it’s time management recognise this, drop the nasty games and begin taking negotiations seriously, so that this dispute can be ended for good.”

The CWU general secretary argued in December that Royal Mail are overseeing the “evaporation of a 500-year-old national treasure” after the company rejected a “peace offer” from workers’ representatives to avert planned strikes.

The union said it had set out “simple solutions” to end the dispute, specifically a back-dated pay deal of 9% over 18 months, a long-term job security commitment from Royal Mail bosses, a pause on “attacks” on union representatives and members and a “period of calm” for negotiations on the company’s future.

The CWU alleged that Royal Mail did not offer to meet with its representatives, instead sending the union a document via independent arbitration service ACAS. The union also accused the company of releasing a “strike-breaking video” on internal social media channels, which it said was “aimed at breaking workers’ morale”.

According to the Mirror, Royal Mail has previously used a staff website to criticise striking postal workers. In one post, chief executive Simon Thompson said: “Calling strike action at Christmas is terrible for our team’s income and our customers’ presents – that is bah humbug.”

Thompson has claimed that Royal Mail’s current pay offer would see postal workers receive “up to a 9% pay increase over 18 months alongside a host of other enhancements” and has described it as the company’s “best and final offer”.

CWU members staged several walkouts in December last year, following two days of strike action the previous month during the busy shopping period of Black Friday and a series of walkouts over the summer.

Everything Labour.
Every weekday morning.

By clicking ‘subscribe’ you confirm you have read and agree to our privacy policy

More from LabourList

Donate to fund our journalism


Subscribe to our Daily Email