Royal Mail postal workers begin fresh two-day strike
Postal workers at Royal Mail have begun a fresh 48-hour strike in a row over pay and conditions. It is the latest in a series of walkouts involving 115,000 workers and will affect letter and parcel deliveries across the UK.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents the workers, says its members want a pay rise that matches the surging cost of living.
Royal Mail said it had made a revised offer but “no talks are happening”. Postal workers walked out on Thursday and Friday last week, and another wave of strikes is planned in the run-up to Christmas – on 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24 December.
Clara Challoner Walker, who runs the Cosy Cottage Soap Company in Malton, Yorkshire, said the strikes were having a “significant impact” on her business.
She uses Royal Mail because it is too expensive to send her relatively small soap and skincare orders via courier companies.
But she says the strikes are likely to damage the business during the “critical” Christmas trading period, when it makes most of its profits for the year.
“We do feel sympathy for the [Royal Mail workers],” she told the BBC. “But I would question the union bosses as to whether striking at this time of year, which is going to have such a significant impact on small businesses, is achieving what they are looking to achieve.”
On strike days Royal Mail will not be able to deliver first and second-class letters, but will deliver as many parcels and Special Delivery letters as possible.The dispute began this summer after Royal Mail rejected union demands for a pay rise that matched inflation – the rate at which prices rises – which is currently 11.1%.
The union also objects to proposed changes to working conditions, such as ending a number of allowances and the introduction of compulsory Sunday working.
Royal Mail has since offered a pay deal that it says is worth up to 9% over 18 months, calling it its “best and final offer”.
But CWU general secretary Dave Ward said that offer represented a “devastating blow” to postal workers’ livelihoods and urged the public to “stand with their postie”.
“Royal Mail bosses are risking a Christmas meltdown because of their stubborn refusal to treat their employees with respect,” he said on Tuesday.
He added that postal workers wanted to “get on with serving the communities they belong to” and tackling the backlog of presents and Christmas cards that has built up in recent weeks.
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