Royal Mail strikes can now be scheduled

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The result of the CWU ballot of postal workers is in and yes they’ve voted 97.6%,  on a 77% turnout for Royal Mail strikes to go ahead. You can watch the announcement in the video above starting 11 minutes in.

The CWU are saying Royal Mail strikes are all about pay rises and this is a theme you’ll hear again and again this summer from different industries. With rampant inflation wages are falling in real terms and so every union is campaigning for bumper pay increases. A suggested 2% rise for Royal Mail workers has been met with derision by the CWU, who say that it’s a real-terms wage cut of approximately 9% for Royal Mail employees.

It’s not good news for Royal Mail, who have just upset 100s of their business customers by not collecting their mail for the past two days. Not collecting when temperatures have broken the 100 degrees Fahrenheit level for the first time is perfectly understandable – no one wants to put posties lives in jeopardy from heat exhaustion. What has royally ticked off business customers is that they had no notice on Monday and it was only when their collection was missed that they discovered it wasn’t going to happen. A bit of notice would be nice.

Royal Mail Strikes are a totally different proposition to a missed collection with no prior notice however. In previous strikes we’ve seen retailers seek out alternatives and vow never to go back to Royal Mail. Today there are more alternatives than ever and the only place Royal Mail doesn’t have a realistic competitor is in low cost low weight letter post and large letter post. If you’re shipping heavier parcels it’s time to consider switching to avoid disruption.

Summer strikes are something that can be handled by retailers, but the big worry is that industrial action will spill into Q4 as that’s when the Union has most leverage. It’s also the time of year that retailers can’t afford to upset customers as ruining someone’s kids Christmas attracts a lot of attention and isn’t quickly forgotten.

With the knowledge that strikes notice can now be issued at any time, there will be significant incentives for Royal Mail to try pull a deal together that’s acceptable to the Union. Otherwise, walkouts will doubtless soon be announced.

It is also a vote of no confidence in Royal Mail’s CEO and board, who should seriously consider their futures in our industry. Crucially, the vote can leave no doubt that postal workers are united, and that they are demanding the proper pay rise they deserve.

While bosses rake in £758 million in profit and shareholders take £400 million, workers are expected to take a serious real-terms pay cut.

Postal workers won’t accept their living standards being hammered by bosses who are typical of business leaders today – overpaid, underqualified, out of their depth.

– Dave Ward, General Secretary, CWU

Our members deserve a pay rise that rewards their fantastic achievements in keeping the country connected during the pandemic, but also helps them keep up during this current economic crisis.

We won’t be backing down until we get just that.

– Terry Pullinger, Deputy General Secretary, CWU

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