Royal Mail Bank Holiday Strikes

Royal Mail Bank Holiday Strikes

It’s time to find an alternative carrier to the national postal service as four days of Royal Mail Bank Holiday strikes are are coming at the end of August and beginning of September.

Arranged to coincide with the Bank Holiday, these strikes are so close together that maximum disruption will be felt by businesses and consumers alike… which is of course the aim of the CWU who expect in a show of solidarity you won’t care that your business is also being ruined alongside Royal Mail.

The strike dates have been chosen just as the country is due to discover who our next Prime Minister is on the 5th of September and they take office. Plus the first strike date is also the day the Energy Price Cap for October will be announced. One might even accuse the CWU of timing the strikes to have maximum impact unless it is a very unhappy accident they’ve chosen this period.

CWU Correction

OK, before you read too much more…. Apparently organising a strike really is akin to organising a piss up in a brewery.

It appears that the CWU are going to call strikes at some point but are having trouble remembering what they agreed to. Maybe it’ll be four days strikes, maybe it’ll be three. Either way it’ll mess with your ecommerce business and your income…

The original press release from the CWU read:

Today (Tuesday 9th August), the Communication Workers Union – which represents Royal Mail Group workers – have served notice to management that workers will take strike action on Friday 26th August, Wednesday 31st August, Thursday 8th September and Friday 9th September.

These are also the dates read out in the CWU Live video announcement of the strikes.

This was followed by an ‘UPDATED DATES’ press release which read:

Today (Tuesday 9th August), the Communication Workers Union – which represents Royal Mail Group workers – have served notice to management that workers will take strike action on Friday 26th August, Wednesday 31st August, Thursday 8th September and Friday 9th September.

And finally, a ‘CORRECTED’ CWU press release reads:

Today (Tuesday 9th August), the Communication Workers Union – which represents Royal Mail Group workers – have served notice to management that workers will take strike action on Wednesday 24th August, Thursday 25th August and Thursday 8th September.

The CWU may also have served an incorrect notice to the postal operator as Royal Mail have the dates of the original release in their press response. If they did serve notice with incorrect dates they may re-serve notice with the correct dates.

Everything you read below was based upon the CWU’s original announcement and press release:

Dates of Royal Mail Bank Holiday Strikes

  • Friday 26th August – 24 hour strike
  • Monday 29th August – Bank Holiday
  • Wednesday 31st August – 24 hour strike
  • Thursday 8th September – 24 hour strike
  • Friday 9th September – 24 hour strike

With the first strike on a Friday followed by a Bank Holiday, the Royal Mail network will be deluged with parcels by Tuesday the 30th, just in time for another strike on the 31st to really screw your business. Pretty much anything that ships from Thursday the 25th will be lucky to arrive before September.

Just as things are recovering, the next walk out is a Thursday and Friday to ensure that the following week Royal Mail’s network (and your business) are totally screwed again.

Frankly it doesn’t matter how supportive you are of the Royal Mail Bank Holiday strikes (and the strikes in other industries from Rail, to the Post Office and Barristers), you need to protect your business and that starts with ensuring you have alternative plans to ship where you can.

Alternative plans for parcels aren’t too bad, but if you rely on letter post then it’s much more difficult. If you can, stuff stock into eBay fulfilment and Amazon FBA and make it their problem. Otherwise it’s very much going to be a case of riding the wave of strikes and keeping your fingers crossed while hoping marketplaces will protect your feedback.

It’s unlikely that one wave of Royal Mail Bank Holiday strikes will bring the two parties back to the table with a solution magically appearing so be fully prepared for more strikes in the run up to Christmas.

What the two sides are saying

The CWU are promising that there will be serious disruption until Royal Mail get ‘real on pay’, while Royal Mail are accusing the Union of ‘failed to engage in any meaningful discussion’.

The CWU says that Royal Mail bosses are raking in £758 million in profit with shareholders pocketing £400 million, while Royal Mail say they’re losing a £1 million a day…

The Union hasn’t got a choice here, the company have called this on… a real lack of honesty, a lack of professionalism, and integrity, in the way that they’ve dealt with the Union throughout the last few months

– Dave Ward, General Secretary, CWU

The CWU rejected our offer worth up to 5.5% for CWU grade colleagues, the biggest increase we have offered for many years. In a business that is currently losing £1 million pounds a day, we can only fund this offer by agreeing the changes that will pay for it.

– Ricky McAulay, Operations Director, Royal Mail

Our members know full well what they are worth. They are willing to fight for a no strings, real-terms pay rise that they are fully entitled to.

– Terry Pullinger, Deputy General Secretary, CWU
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Amazon will no doubt be ordering a few more vans

R • 10th August 2022 •