Postal workers have confirmed two further days of strike action will take place at the end of September over claims Royal Mail wants to convert the service into a “gig economy” workplace.
Over 100,000 staff represented by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) walked out in the latest wave of strike action starting on Thursday.
That is aimed at securing an “adequate pay award” after bosses imposed a 2% rise earlier this year despite inflation predicted to around seven times that by the end of 2022.
However, further action will take place on Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1, over claims of reforms to the service including the reduction of sick pay, delaying in the arrival of mail to customers by up to three hours, “total flexibility” in terms of working hours, mandatory Sunday working and other cuts to terms and conditions.
The CWU also accused the company of “evading discussions” over whether it is discussing a potential take-over and sell-off.
Royal Mail said it wanted to “protect well-paid, permanent jobs long-term,” adding the CWU had rejected the largest pay increase offered “in many years”.
CWU general secretary David Ward said: “They have lost the dressing room, and unless efforts are made to get real on discussing a real pay rise for postal workers, serious disruption will continue.
“What we are facing is bosses taking executive action to weaken the lives of workers who are rightfully infuriated at the despicable way they are being treated.
“This is nothing short of an employer’s offensive against hard working people who go above and beyond for the company and the wider community.”
He added: “We are still open for meaningful negotiations with the company, but the feeling does not appear to be mutual.”
The current strike action is the largest carried out by postal workers since 2009.
CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said members deserved to be rewarded for their efforts during the Covid pandemic.
He added: “Our members deserve a pay rise that rewards their fantastic achievements in keeping the country connected, but also helps them keep up during this current economic crisis.
“We won’t be backing down until we get just that.”
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “The CWU’s decision to announce further strike action is placing jobs at risk. Royal Mail is losing £1m a day. Strike action has weakened our financial position and is threatening the long-term job security of our postmen and women.
“The CWU has a responsibility to recognise the reality of the situation Royal Mail faces as a business and to engage urgently on the changes required. We are now a parcels business. We must adapt old ways of working designed for letters to a world increasingly dominated by parcels and act fast.”
They added: “We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimise any delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.
“We remain ready to talk with the CWU, but any talks must be about both change and pay. Change is the route to higher pay.”
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