LONDON – Strikers from the CWU trade union take part in a picket line at Peckham Royal Mail Center on November 24, 2022 in London, England. Strikes planned for the Black Friday weekend and on into Christmas will go on after talks between Royal Mail and the communications workers’ union ended without agreement.
Guy Smallman/Getty Images
LONDON – Thousands of postal workers in Britain are on a two-day strike, after talks amid disruption of Black Friday royal message And the communication staff fell through the union.
Leaders of the trade union, which represents some 115,000 striking postal workers, re-entered talks with Royal Mail executives early last month, with talks now lasting seven months.
However, the Royal Mail Group – recently renamed International Delivery Services On the London Stock Exchange – said in a statement on Wednesday that it had presented its “best and final offer” and accused the union of “paying the Christmas ransom”.
The CWU has announced 10 more days of strike action until Christmas Eve, four of which have been formally notified, the last being on 1 December.
In October, Royal Mail revealed plans to cut 10,000 jobs by next summer and posted a half-year adjusted operating loss of £219 million ($265.3 million), and CEO Simon Thompson said the strikes had already hit the company’s bottom line. Losses so far this year IDS shares have fallen by more than 58% since the start of the year.
“At a materially loss-making company, with each additional day of strike action we are faced with a difficult choice of whether we spend our money on wages and protecting jobs,” Thompson said on Wednesday. spend at strike price.”
“The CWU’s planned strike action is holding Christmas to the ransom for our customers, businesses and families across the country, and putting the jobs of our own members at risk.”
The union said on Wednesday it met with Royal Mail officials, but claimed Thompson did not participate. In a statement, the CWU warned of “the end of the Royal Mail as we know it”.
Royal Mail claims its latest offer includes a deal increasing wages by up to 9% over 18 months, a new profit sharing program for staff, a block on compulsory redundancies until the end of March 2023 and improvements to the voluntary redundancy package.
However, the union accused company executives of “turning Royal Mail Group into a gig economy-style parcel courier, reliant on casual labour”, imposing compulsory redundancies on postal workers while maintaining agency staff at low wages, and “wholly inadequate accused of offering. Non-backdated 3.5% pay increase.”
It also said the deal on the table included cutting sick pay, removing Sunday premium payments, later start and finish times and “the introduction of technology that will monitor postal workers every minute of the day.”
BIRMINGHAM, UK – 24 NOVEMBER, 2022: Postal workers on a picket line at the Central Delivery Office and Mail Center in Birmingham. Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are on a 48-hour strike in their long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
Jacob King / PA Images via Getty Images
Dave Ward, general secretary of the CWU, said: “We will not accept that 115,000 Royal Mail workers – the people who have kept us engaged during the pandemic, and generated millions in profit for owners and shareholders – have suffered such a devastating blow to their livelihoods Put.”
“These proposals point to the end of Royal Mail as we know it, and its decline from a national institution to an unreliable, Uber-style gig economy company.”
In August postal workers voted overwhelmingly in favor of strike action to protest pay and conditions after Royal Mail initially implemented a 2% pay rise on staff, while UK inflation was heading towards double digits. UK inflation reached 11.1% in October.
The union is demanding a better 18-month wage deal, a guarantee of no compulsory redundancy and an “alternative business strategy that will leverage its competitive advantage to develop Royal Mail Group as a company rather than becoming a gig economy parcel employer”. will use.”
strike in all sectors
Public and private sector workers are on strike in Britain over pay, working conditions and pensions, inflation is running at its highest level in more than 40 years and the independent Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) last week raised the standard of living A significant decline is predicted. since the start of the record.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that an average of 19,500 working days per month were lost to industrial action in 2019, but this has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching 87,600 in July 2022.
Rail strikes have brought the country’s train services to a virtual standstill for several days throughout the year, and the RMT union, whose members work for Network Rail and 14 other train operators, recently called for four more 48-hour strikes. Voted in favor of rail strikes. Run-up to Christmas.
The Royal College of Nursing recently announced that its members would hold a year-end walkout for the first time in its 106-year history.
The British Medical Association will hold a ballot in January on a pay deal for junior doctors in England that will offer them a 2% rise this year, while the 18,000 ambulance workers represented by the larger GMB and Unite unions are currently voting on strike action. are doing.
Scottish teachers took industrial action on Thursday that closed most of Scotland’s schools, as well as demanding a 10% pay rise, and several UK-wide teacher unions representing a total of more than 400,000 teachers and support staff are holding ballots. What are you doing in January?
Telecom workers took strike action for the first time in more than 30 years in July to protest pay, with additional dates in August and October, while airline baggage handlers walked out for three days on 18 November.
Around 100,000 civil servants, including Border Force officers, also recently voted to strike over the Christmas period, demanding a 10% pay rise.