Royal Mail workers begin wave of Christmas strikes
Thousands of postal workers at Royal Mail are on strike over pay and conditions, potentially causing disruption to customers’ festive deliveries.
More than 115,000 staff walked out on Friday, with more strikes to follow in the run-up to Christmas. Recent talks between the CWU union and Royal Mail have broken down.
Members of the union are expected to continue striking on Sunday as well as on 14, 15, 23 and 24 December.
Although there are no letter deliveries on Sundays, there are parcel deliveries, and Royal Mail also processes mail on a Sunday for delivery on a Monday. Last week, Royal Mail advised people to post Christmas mail earlier than usual due to the strikes.
Millions of letters have reportedly been piling up as negotiations have stalled, while it has brought forward the final suggested date for sending second class post to 12 December from 19 December, and for first class to 16 December from 21 December.
The union has said staff want a pay rise that matches the soaring cost of living and has accused management of trying to “force through thousands of compulsory redundancies”.
Workers carrying placards demanding the removal of Royal Mail’s chief executive Simon Thompson gathered outside the Mount Pleasant Mail Centre in London – the company’s largest sorting site in the UK.
One employee Nick, who has worked for Royal Mail for 38 years, told the BBC that although he had walked out during previous strikes, the distance between management and unions appeared to him to be wider in this wave of industrial action.
“It seems to me there’s not really a negotiation. It is a take it or leave it deal where they are attacking our terms and conditions.
Inside the sorting office, parcels and letters continued to be sorted by a skeleton crew of 100 people, compared to the 1,000 employees who normally work at the centre.
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