The Communication Workers Union (CWU) – the union for Royal Mail workers – has announced that 115,000 postal workers will go on strike on November 24 and November 25, the Black Friday shopping day, and on November 30 and December 1 – two days after Cyber Monday.
Furthermore, the CWU’s postal executive will meet on November 3 to discuss new actions in the Christmas build-up. The union will hold a vote of no confidence in Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson and a vote to decide whether to reject the deal Royal Mail put to employees on October 31. The deal offered a 7% two-year pay offer and was deemed a dramatic real-terms pay cut by the union.
The action is to be taken in response to the deal and to widespread changes by Royal Mail such as the introduction of Uber-style owner-drivers, mail center closures and changes to Sunday working.
Dave Ward, general secretary of the CWU, said, “Posties are in the fight of their lives against the uberization of Royal Mail and the destruction of their conditions. But 115,000 of our members will not just accept this war on their livelihoods and their industry. They will never give up the fight to protect this industry and protect their hard-won working conditions. Simon Thompson has to either accept that or walk away – until he does one or the other, serious disruption will continue.”
Andy Furey, acting deputy general secretary of the CWU, added, “Simon Thompson’s plan is evident – they want to destroy this company as we know it. They want outsourcing, casualization, the decimation of working practices and pay. But so many of our members have given their entire working lives to building this company. They deserve a much better deal than what is on offer, and Simon Thompson is on another planet if he thinks we’ll stop fighting to achieve that.”
A Royal Mail spokesperson said, “On Monday October 31, Royal Mail proposed a new pay-for-change offer to the CWU worth 9% over two years, despite making a loss of £219m (US$251m) in the first half of the year. The CWU has been in talks with us at Acas and claims they are open to change, but they now need to show it. Instead, the CWU has announced four days of strike action which will damage our business further at our busiest time of year.
“The CWU is playing a dangerous game with its members’ jobs and the future of Royal Mail. We urge CWU to withdraw these strikes, for the good of our customers and our people. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimize delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”