Christmas post chaos ‘looming’ as Royal Mail staff workers vote in favour of festive strikes

16 October 2019, 09:11

Royal Mail could go on strike this Christmas
Royal Mail could go on strike this Christmas. Picture: Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Royal Mail staff have voted to strike this Christmas in a dispute over conditions and pay.

You might have to send your Christmas post early this year as Royal Mail workers recently voted to take industrial action.

A whopping 97% of posties who are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) backed a strike in the next few months.

While dates are yet to be announced, the union say they want to make ‘the biggest impact possible’ so could target the annual Black Friday sales in late November and the Christmas post.

The impending strikes comes as the CWU accused the Royal Mail of going back on an agreement reached last year which agreed to increase pay, reduce the working week and other terms of employment.

The Royal Mail strikes could cause Christmas chaos
The Royal Mail strikes could cause Christmas chaos. Picture: PA Images

Relations at the company have got progressively worse, with unofficial strikes breaking out over the country weekly.

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General Secretary of the CWU, Dave Ward said: "This result sends a clear message to Royal Mail Group - our members will not stand by as you rip up their terms and conditions and destroy the service they give to the public and businesses of the UK.

"We would urge Royal Mail Group to now enter serious negotiations with this union. We also call on the public to get behind this dispute and your postal workers.

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"We are very proud of our members today. They have stood by their union in record numbers and given hope to workers across the nation."

The union say the prospect of the first national postal strike in a decade now "looms large”, but the Royal Mail have said it’s "very disappointed" by the vote.

"We want to reach agreement. There are no grounds for industrial action," the firm said.

This comes after postal strikes were stopped last year after Royal Mail agreed to raise pay, reform pensions and reduce weekly working hours from 39 to 35 by 2022.

Despite the company saying they have already awarded two pay rises since last year and cut the working week by an hour, the CWU has claimed that the deal is "under threat" thanks to newly appointed chief executive Rico Back.

Terry Pullinger, the CWU's deputy general secretary, said: "Just over one year ago the Royal Mail Group Board and the CWU agreed a blue print agreement for the future, a progressive agreement that included an historic pension solution, a mutual interest driven relationship and a joint vision for a successful postal service with social aims.

"Today the new RMG leadership are breaking that agreement.

"Our members take honour seriously and have voted to fight for that agreement against those who now seek to break up the great British Postal service in the interest of fast track profit and greed.

"Integrity and pride still matters and we will not stand aside and see what we have spent our working lives building destroyed."