Royal Mail pension wrangles could lead to strikes in 2017

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Royal Mail has a pension scheme with 90k members. It costs close to £1bn a year and Royal Mail has said: “we believe that the current plan will soon not be affordable.” So that’s why they’ve been consulting members and unions about the future of the pension scheme. That survey closed this week.

Royal Mail would like to see a move to a pension system with a defined contribution scheme with payouts linked to investment returns rather than a fixed member benefits approach.

A Royal Mail spokesperson says: “We are actively considering all the feedback and continue to engage with our unions. No decisions will be made until we have considered members’ views and have had an opportunity to discuss these with our unions. We will write to members once a decision has been made.”

The CWU, the union that represents the majority of Royal Mail workers, says it will be making its own representations to Royal Mail on top of individual members. And the union has also noted it will ballot member with possible view to strike action if the scheme is closed or limited. We’ll keep you posted.

It always seems to us that Royal Mail strikes, however justified, usually assist the alternative couriers and incomers as ecommerce sellers seek out alternatives to get round the suspension of service. A day or two of strikes mean that sellers shop elsewhere and they don’t necessarily return to Royal Mail when the action is over. And yet we also recognise that a strong, successful, affordable Royal Mail is vital to British ecommerce.

A mixed economy of delivery suppliers, including Royal Mail, is desirable. But it must be reliable.

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