Royal Mail walkout – more strikes announced

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As we start another two day Royal Mail walkout, two more strike dates have been announced. Members of the CWU will stage another two day Royal Mail walkout on Friday the 30th of September and Saturday the 1st of October.

This weeks Royal Mail walkout is over pay, but the two days coming at the end of the month are from the ballot over working terms and conditions as the CWU have attempted to separate the two issues. However the tone of the CWU has changed since the ballots took place.

Today the CWU indicated that after a meeting with Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson and the company indicated that more money might be available in exchange for changes to working conditions, the Union appear to be willing to discuss the two issues together.

What’s changed is the threat of a foreign private equity company taking a large stake in Royal Mail and the news of this has sent shivers down the spine of the CWU. Even the government are taking an interest as they view the Royal Mail as an essential services which they don’t wish to fall into foreign private ownership.

The issue that all sides have is that a private equity company will mainly be interested in GLS and selling off that part of the business would remove most of the profits. The government’s main interest is maintaining a Universal Service for letters but Royal Mail recognise that transformation from loss making letters to a parcel service is the only route to profitability, but plenty of alternatives already operate in this space and the government and CWU both want the Universal Service protected.

The CWU appear to feel Royal Mail have been negotiating in bad faith, on the one hand offering the carrot of more pay but on the other negotiating behind their backs with an investor that won’t do the CWU any favours.

This leaves the people most important as the ones that suffer – Royal Mail walkout days are going to cost Posties a full week’s pay – that’s roughly a 4% salary loss this year so any pay rise that comes will leave them considerably worse off. The strikes are also massively impacting businesses that rely on Royal Mail for deliveries and the cost of this is crippling as they still have to pay their staff, rent, energy bills and other costs as well as deal with customers wondering when they’ll receive their orders.

We’re hoping without much faith that a resolution can be found, but the reality is that further strikes are almost inevitable.

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