Royal Mail faces national strike action over pay and conditions

The UK Communications Workers Union is threatening strike action at Royal Mail over pay, conditions and the potential to go to a seven day week.

The CWU filed an emergency motion at their annual conference, saying that unless pay is raised unconditionally in line with inflation – currently 7% – and the workers are consulted over a seven day week, its 115,000 frontline members could walk out.

Postal workers can volunteer to deliver parcels on Sundays currently, generally for large online retailers. Royal Mail’s management wants to extend this to small businesses too, to compete with other delivery companies like DPD and Amazon.

In return for the extended working week, the postal operator is offering a 2% pay rise backdated to April 1st and a further 1.5% from the date the changes are implemented. This amounts to a 3.5% pay cut in real terms. There will be additionally be a new ‘above and beyond bonus’ of 2% for staff who meet productivity targets.

CWU Deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said: “We know what our members have done through the pandemic, we know they deserve a pay rise – one that rewards them for what they’ve done, but also protects them from this cost-of-living crisis.

“We are giving them one week, and if we’re not in sight of a no-strings pay award we’ll instigate the four-week resolution process at national level.

“They want to smash up this great public service and fill their pockets with gold. We have to fight with everything we’ve got.”

In a statement, Royal Mail said: “We have been clear that we want to agree a deal as soon as possible to recognise the great work of our people, while ensuring that Royal Mail can grow and remain competitive into the future in a fast-changing industry.”