New Royal Mail strike dates revealed

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Postal workers will hold a series of 48-hour strikes to fall on Black Friday and after Tech Monday, with workers also set to hold a vote of no confidence in Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson.

Postal workers will strike on Black Friday
Postal workers will strike on Black Friday

The Communication Workers Union (CWU), the union for Royal Mail workers, said yesterday (1 November) that workers will be striking on 24 and 25 November – the latter being Black Friday, the biggest shopping day in the calendar.

Workers will then also strike on 30 November and 1 December, this two days after Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online shopping days.

Additionally, the CWU’s postal executive will meet tomorrow to discuss new actions in the Christmas build-up.

The union said it will hold a vote among members to reject the deal Royal Mail attempted to place in front of employees on Monday, as well as over whether workers have confidence in Thompson.

The CWU said the deal offered a 7% two-year pay offer, “a dramatic real-terms pay cut”, widespread changes over introducing Uber-style owner-drivers, mail centre closures, and changes to Sunday working. It said this has prompted widespread outrage from workers.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Posties are in the fight of their lives against the Uberisation of Royal Mail and the destruction of their conditions.

“But 115,000 of our members will not just accept this war on their livelihoods and their industry.

“They will never give up the fight to protect this industry and to protect their hard-won working conditions. Simon Thompson has to either accept that or walk away – until he does one or the other, serious disruption will continue.”

CWU acting deputy general secretary Andy Furey said: “Simon Thompson’s plan is evident – they want to destroy this company as we know it. They want outsourcing, casualisation, the decimation of working practices and pay.

“But so many of our members have given their entire working lives to building this company. They deserve a much better deal than what is on offer, and Simon Thompson is on another planet if he thinks we’ll stop fighting to achieve that.”

In response, a Royal Mail spokesperson said it had proposed a 9% offer to the CWU that comprises a 7% salary increase over two years made up of 5.5% this financial year – the 2% already paid and a further 3.5% salary increase from the date the deal is agreed, and 1.5% in the next financial year from April 2023. It said this salary increase would apply to base pay and relevant allowances.

Additionally, it said it proposed a non-pensionable lump sum payment of 2% of this year’s pay.

Royal Mail said the pay offer applies to CWU grade colleagues excluding PFSL, Parcelforce and Fleet, which operate as separate bargaining units.

“On Monday 31 October, Royal Mail proposed a new pay-for-change offer to the CWU worth 9% over two years, despite making a loss of £219m in the first half of the year,” the spokesperson commented.

“The CWU have been in talks with us at Acas and claim they are open to change, but they now need to show it.

“Instead, the CWU have announced four days of strike action which will damage our business further at our busiest time of year. The CWU is playing a dangerous game with its members’ jobs and the future of Royal Mail. We urge CWU to withdraw these strikes, for the good of our customers and our people.

"We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU's continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimise delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”

Strikes involving various sections of the workforce planned for 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 10 November were postponed, but strike action will resume on 12 November.

Royal Mail also today revealed details of its new Sunday Special Delivery Guaranteed service, which it said would offer enhanced levels of security and convenience for business account customers throughout the week.

It said the move would give business customers the ability to send high value and important parcels on a Saturday for Sunday delivery and “comes as online shoppers increasingly require seven-day-a-week delivery options when buying parcels online”.

Business customers now have the choice of Tracked 24 or Special Delivery Guaranteed to deliver parcels next day, any day of the week. Business customers will still be able to post Special Delivery Guaranteed parcels on a Saturday for Monday delivery, if they are sending to a business address that won’t be open on the Sunday.

The business is also dropping the additional charge for Special Delivery Guaranteed parcels delivered on Saturdays, meaning businesses will pay the same price seven-days-a-week for this enhanced security service.

Royal Mail said it already delivers around 250,000 parcels on a Sunday and demand continues to grow.

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: “Retailers who can offer all of their customers a seven-days-a-week shopping experience, open up a whole new trading day and don’t push their customers to other online retailers or physical stores at the weekend.

“In short, retailers who offer Sunday delivery will grow faster. That’s why we have been rapidly scaling up our Sunday service and why we’re now adding another option for urgent and higher value items.”

Finally, Royal Mail encountered an issue with its Click and Drop service around lunchtime yesterday that meant “a limited number of customers” were able to see information about other customers' orders following a technical problem.

As a protective measure, it temporarily stopped access to the service but said customers could use paperwork to hand over their items in the interim. The issue was fixed by around 6pm yesterday, with service restored, and Royal Mail apologised for any inconvenience caused to customers and said the root cause was under investigation.

Printweek welcomes informed debate, but all comments must comply with our house rules which can be read here: A-Z of using the Printweek forums


© MA Business Limited 2023. Published by MA Business Limited, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB, a company registered in England and Wales no. 06779864. MA Business is part of the Mark Allen Group .