On Thursday (20 February) Royal Mail said it would offer a three-year pay deal from 1 April 2020 of 6% in total for CWU grades.
“This means an increase, when including the first hour of the Shorter Working Week, of over 16% between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2023,” the postal operator added in a statement.
“We can only afford this if we deliver on the plan announced to shareholders in May 2019. To get there we need to change more quickly than so far.”
But in response, on Friday the CWU said: “The pay offer is not linked to the dispute. We are balloting on the direction of the company, them breaching national agreements, the culture of the workplace.”
It added the ballot “is definitely still going ahead” and that papers will be dispatched on 3 March. The ballot closes on 17 March, and the earliest it could call action would be 31 March.
Royal Mail initially proposed a three-year pay deal to the Communication Workers Union (CWU) two weeks ago. In a trading update for the nine months to 29 December 2019 released the previous day, Royal Mail said it may be unable to meet its three-year turnaround plan targets as the threat of strikes continue to loom over the business.
The High Court halted industrial action at the firm in November when it declared unlawful the CWU’s ballot for action over grievances about job security and the terms and conditions of their employment.
Royal Mail’s share price climbed by over 5% following the company’s announcement on Thursday, to 183.78p and fell back again on Friday to 177.65p after the CWU responded. At the time of writing its shares had fallen again to 173.9p.