Royal Mail faces industrial action from managers

Royal Mail is facing industrial action from the union that represents its managers, with Unite accusing the postal operator of planning a ‘fire and rehire’ programme.

Royal Mail denies plans to fire and rehire 1,000 managers on lower pay rates but the union is so certain of this it is balloting its members over industrial action. Strikes could happen next month.

The Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Royal Mail has no excuse for announcing these job cuts, especially at the same time as ‘new’ bands on lower pay. That is just ‘fire and rehire.’

“They are not even losing money – Royal Mail’s private shareholders are doing very nicely out of the UK. Our members are determined to prevent this destruction and they have the full backing of their union every step of the way.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We are disappointed Unite is preparing to ballot its members. The consultation on this restructure has been progressing well over the last two months. We are now moving the consultation to the next phase so we are unsure why Unite has decided to seek a ballot at this time.

“From the outset we have been committed to conducting this process carefully and sensitively, working closely with our people and our trade unions.”

They added: “The proposals are designed to simplify and streamline our operational structures to ensure an improved focus on local performance, and devolve more accountability and flexibility to frontline operational managers.

“We firmly believe this change will deliver a number of benefits for our managers and our customers and will be a significant step forward in the reinvention of Royal Mail.”

Meanwhile frontline postal workers are showing discontent with pay and conditions. Their union the CWU has recently written a public letter to the Royal Mail board calling for more transparency on the plans. This could lead to separate action from the union later this year.