Hundreds of Royal Mail workers are set to march outside the Scottish Parliament calling on the First Minister to assist in their dispute with company bosses over pay.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said planned Christmas strikes are to go ahead as talks between the two sides remain deadlocked.
Dave Ward, general secretary of the CWU, has written to Nicola Sturgeon seeking urgent talks to secure her support in a bid to end the dispute.
His move has led to hundreds of union members in Scotland being set to descend on Holyrood on Thursday to demand the First Minister’s backing and to highlight their claims Royal Mail has been mismanaged by bosses.
In his letter to Sturgeon, Ward said: “Royal Mail has announced a number of completely unacceptable job losses, which have been ‘justified’ by their financial mismanagement.
“This is the biggest assault on any group of UK workers in decades, with the senior management of Royal Mail openly calling for postal workers to pay the price for their mistakes.
“Only 18 months ago, our members were praised as key workers that kept the country, and the company going, during the pandemic.
“It is outrageous that Royal Mail now wants to force through mass job losses, including compulsory redundancies, as part of an asset-stripping business plan.
“The company is deliberately running down services available to the customer to justify turning Royal Mail into just another gig-economy employer.
“We know that many customers and businesses in Scotland, particularly in rural communities, rely heavily on the USO (universal service obligation) and it is imperative we work together to protect it.”
Ward requested a meeting with Sturgeon to discuss the future of Royal Mail staff, and urged her to call for an inquiry into the postal company’s management.
In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The First Minister will respond to Mr Ward’s letter in due course.”
The demonstration, which starts at 11am, will see speeches from Andy Furey, CWU’s acting deputy general secretary, and Roz Foyer, general secretary of the STUC.
Royal Mail said it made a “best and final pay offer”, worth up to 9% over 18 months, about three weeks ago.
A spokesperson for the company said: “Instead of working with us to agree on changes required to fund that offer and get pay into our posties’ pockets, the CWU has announced plans to ballot in the new year for further strike action.
“Their misguided belief that further industrial action – in a business already losing more than £1 million a day – will result in an improved pay offer is misleading its members and risking their long-term job security.”
The CWU said it has offered “simple solutions” to end the dispute, including a back-dated pay deal of 9% over 18 months, a long-term job security commitment from Royal Mail’s chief executive and a period of calm for negotiations on the future direction of the company.
But the union said Royal Mail did not offer to meet members, adding that planned strikes on Thursday December 15, Friday December 23 and Saturday December 24 are set to go ahead.
It means the new last posting dates for arrival for Christmas Day are:
– 1st Class, 1st Class Signed For – December 16
– Special Delivery Guaranteed – December 21
Royal Mail said it is “doing everything we can to deliver Christmas for our customers”, and thanked an “increasing number of posties returning to work each strike day, temporary workers and managers from across the business who are helping to keep the mail moving”.