Royal mail workers back strike action in row over terms and conditions

Royal Mail workers have overwhelmingly voted to back further strikes over a pay dispute with the company. Picture by Joe Giddens/PA Wire.
Alan Jones

ROYAL Mail workers have voted massively in favour of strikes in a dispute over pay and conditions, increasing the threat of disruption to postal deliveries.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) backed strikes by 98.7 per cent on a turnout of more than 72 per cent.

It was the second ballot of Royal Mail workers, who are already planning to strike on August 26 and 31 and September 8 and 9 in a separate row over pay.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said it was a "staggering" result which sends a clear message to bosses about opposition to plans to changes to terms and conditions under modernisation plans.

"We will do everything possible to see if we can make progress but the Royal Mail management has to change its position," Mr Ward said.

"If they don't, then we will take strike action."

The four strikes in the coming weeks will be the first national walkouts of postal staff, including delivery workers and those in sorting offices, since 2013.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: "Instead of engaging meaningfully on change that will secure future jobs, the CWU has decided to ballot against change.

"We are losing £1 million a day and we need to change what we are doing to fix the situation and protect jobs.

"This change is also needed to support the pay package we have offered to CWU grade colleagues, worth up to 5.5 per cent. This is the biggest increase we have offered for many years and the CWU have rejected it.

"This would add around £230m to Royal Mail's annual people costs when the business is already loss-making.

"The CWU has put forward ideas for change that would cost over £1 billion while not delivering the changes needed to ensure Royal Mail can grow and remain competitive in a fast-moving industry.

"These actions do not represent a union that supports change. We wanted to meet this week but were disappointed the CWU couldn't make it - we hope to meet next week. The CWU have their heads in the sand and are failing to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

"Royal Mail can have a bright future but we can't achieve that by living in the past. Customers want more parcels, bigger parcels, delivered the next day, including Sundays, and more environmentally friendly options.

"By modernising, we can offer more of what our customers want at a price they are willing to pay, all whilst protecting jobs on the best terms and conditions in the industry."

Mr Ward said: "Today's result is another rejection of those at the top of Royal Mail who should consider their positions.

"Postal workers are being pushed to the edge, but there can be no doubt they will fight the planned erosion of their workplace rights with determination.

"This country is growing sick of a business elite who are completely out of touch with ordinary people."

CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said: "Our members, who worked miracles during the pandemic, are being treated with complete contempt.

"The ongoing attempts of Royal Mail Group to whittle away people's hard won working conditions will be met with fierce opposition."