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Royal Mail on course for strike over crucial Christmas period


Royal Mail industrial action
Royal Mail industrial action could go on until the end of the year
// Industrial action at Royal Mail could impact deliveries through until the end of the year
// Communication Workers’ Union claims full support as management decries working practices

Industrial action at Royal Mail could last all the way to the Christmas trading period, with the company’s management and workers becoming more entrenched ahead of strikes.

The prospect of major industrial action will be a blow to online retail, potentially impacting deliveries for the remainder of the year.

The Communication Workers’ Union has called 115,000 members out on strike, demanding a cost-of-living pay rise in line with inflation that is running at more than 10%.

It has rejected a 2% pay rise and an offer from Royal Mail that would give pay increases worth up to 5.5% for some workers but would be tied to agreements to substantially change working practices.

The union has a mandate from its members, with 97% support, to continue action over a six-month period, which does not expire until January.

It appears likely that the dispute will continue into Royal Mail’s all-important third quarter, including the Black Friday and Christmas trading period.

Royal Mail has said it will deliver as many special delivery and Tracked24 parcels as possible on strike days.

READ MORE: Royal Mail warns of full-year loss if four days of strikes go ahead

Royal Mail also said it could not afford the pay rise because, after the end of the pandemic boom, online shopping and home delivery was losing £1 million a day. At the same time it wants to push through changes in working practices for “more and bigger parcels delivered the next day, including Sundays”.

The company added: “While our competitors work seven days a week, delivering until 10pm to meet customer demand, the CWU wants to work fewer hours, six days a week, starting and finishing earlier.”

In response, the union said: “We are told the company is losing £1 million a day. This is against a backdrop of making record profits of £758 million just a few months ago. The first port of call must be to question the company’s leadership, who have overseen such a dramatic downturn.

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