Royal Mail managers to strike in dispute over pay and job cuts

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Unite, the managers’ trade union, has announced that Royal Mail managers across the UK are set to take industrial action in a dispute over jobs and pay. Between July 15-19, 2,400 managers will work to rule and will then take part in strike action on July 20-22.

According to Unite, the action comes after Royal Mail confirmed it would be axing 700 jobs and cutting pay by up to £7,000 (US$8,352), despite paying out £400m (US$477m) to shareholders and recording a £311m (US$371m) profit last year.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This business is awash with cash, but it is putting profits and dividends for the few at the top ahead of its duties as a public service. There is not a single aspect of these cuts which is about improving customer service. They are being driven entirely by a culture of greed and profiteering which has seized a 500-year-old essential service, driving it close to ruin. Our members are determined to force the business to take a different path, and they have the full backing of Unite.”

Industrial action by the managers, who voted by 86% to strike (89% in Northern Ireland), will affect the postal and parcel service across Great Britain and Northern Ireland. According to Unite, during the work to rule and strike action:

  • Deliveries will not be covered;
  • Managers will take their breaks and start and finish on time;
  • Managers will be taking their rest days leaving units with no manger on site;
  • Weekends volunteer operation won’t be covered;
  • Units will have no person in control responsible for safety of the staff and buildings;
  • Good will to work extra unpaid hours will cease;
  • Some key services, like next-day delivery and tracked items, will be delayed;
  • Postal staff may refuse to cross picket lines or work in unmanaged buildings.

Mike Eatwell, Unite national officer with responsibility for Royal Mail, commented, “We have taken another detailed look at Royal Mail’s proposals, and it is worse than we first thought. The business is seeking to cut 700 posts on top of the 1,200 cut last year. It is already running on fumes, depending on Unite members’ dedication and professionalism to hold the service together.

“For those managers who remain, they face cuts to their salaries of up to £7,000. People who gave their working lives to this business will lose their homes. It is no wonder then that our members are angry and ready to take strike action.

“Royal Mail knows what to do if it wants to avoid these strikes. Step back from these cuts and make a serious offer to Unite’s members that will restore jobs and preserve pay. Royal Mail can easily afford to do what is right.”

In response to the strike action, a Royal Mail spokesperson told the BBC, “We have contingency plans in place to minimize disruption for customers in the event of industrial action, and we will work to keep people, businesses and the country connected. We are committed to protecting pay for all managers who stay with Royal Mail, and the vast majority have seen an increase in their earnings.

“We are disappointed that Unite/CMA has notified us of planned industrial action. There are no grounds for industrial action. The extended consultation on our recent restructure concluded earlier this year, and the restructuring is complete.”

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With over a decade of experience as a business and technology journalist working in B2B publishing, Hazel first joined UKi in 2011. After taking 18 months off to bring up her daughter and try her hand at marketing copywriting, she returned in January 2018 to do what she loves best – magazine editing! She is now the editor of UKi's Passenger Terminal World and Parcel and Postal Technology International magazines.

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