Royal Mail strikers 'in it for the long haul' as firm loses £1m a day

Royal Mail strikers are ‘in it for the long haul’, union boss says as workers walk out over pay – despite postal service warning it’s losing £1million a DAY and further action ‘puts jobs at risk’

  • Union boss Dave Ward said postal workers on strike today in it ‘for the long haul’
  • Royal Mail workers represented by the CWU walking out today and tomorrow
  • They have announced further strikes on September 30 and October 1 in pay row
  • The Royal Mail warned strike action is costing £1m a day risking workers’ jobs

The postal union boss has today vowed 115,000 striking Royal Mail workers are in it for ‘the long haul’ after more strikes were announced for the end of the month in a pay row.

Communication Workers Union picket lines sprang up this morning outside postal centres across the UK in West Yorkshire, Swansea and Wrexham in Wales, and Camden in London where CWU general secretary Dave Ward joined workers.

Dave Ward said he had ‘never known Royal Mail workers to be so angry’ as workers had just a 2% ‘imposed’ pay rise as the company ‘made record profits’ and bosses were given ‘astronomical bonuses’.

However, the Royal Mail said that the strike action by the CWU was costing them a massive £1million a day and putting the jobs of postmen and women ‘at risk’. 

Postal workers walking out today and tomorrow are now set walk out again on September 30 and October 1, following strikes last week, causing major disruption.

Mr Ward said: ‘Imposing a 2% pay increase on the workers who kept the company going during the pandemic, made the record profits that the company earned during the pandemic, whilst the bosses, you know, walked away with huge astronomical bonuses for apparently hitting all their financial targets, is just insulting.

‘And I have to say I have never known workers in Royal Mail to be so angry towards the employer.’

Royal Mail trucks parked up in the yard in Peterborough after today’s industrial action by CWU members

Dave Ward (left, holding megaphone), general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), joined postal workers outside a Royal Mail Delivery Centre in Camden this morning and said strikers were in it ‘for the long haul’

Royal Mail workers on the picket line this morning outside a delivery office in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Royal Mail workers striking in Camden were in high spirits, holding signs and banners while playing music, with one person in the group on bagpipes (pictured)

He also said staff were in the dispute for the ‘long haul’, adding they would be fighting to get ‘the pay deal they deserve’.

The strikes by postal workers today and tomorrow are expected to be one of Britain’s biggest strikes this summer. 

Dozens of Royal Mail workers formed a picket line outside the Royal Mail delivery office in Camden, north London on Thursday.

Staff were in high spirits, holding signs and banners while playing music, with one person in the group on bagpipes.

Passing vehicles beeped their horns in support with workers cheering in response.

Pat Carey, 42, a postman of 25 years and CWU area representative for north-west London, said: ‘In north-west we actually went around collecting for food banks for people struggling; now we’re the one’s going to food banks, striking at the moment because 2% is not enough.’

Mark Wilkins, a 53-year-old postman, said staff were facing the ‘absolutely disgraceful’ situation of having to choose between heating their homes and eating this winter.

The union announced the further 48-hour stoppage, saying its 115,000 members were increasingly angry at an ‘imposed’ 2% pay rise.

The union said its members face a ‘dramatic’ reduction in living standards because of the soaring rate of inflation.

Royal Mail postal workers hold placards and chant slogans as they stand on a picket line outside a delivery office in north London

Postal workers picket outside a delivery office in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

A picket line of Royal Mail workers outside a delivery office in Holmfirth, also in West Yorkshire

Dave Ward said: ‘There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve.

‘We can’t keep on living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks.

‘When Royal Mail bosses are raking in £758 million in profit and shareholders pocketing in excess of £400 million, our members won’t accept pleads of poverty from the company.

‘Postal workers won’t meekly accept their living standards being hammered by greedy business leaders who are completely out of touch with modern Britain.

‘They are sick of corporate failure getting rewarded again and again.

‘Royal Mail’s leadership have lost the dressing room – and unless they make efforts to get real on discussing a pay rise that postal workers deserve, serious disruption will continue.’

Mr Ward said the fresh strikes had been called following the ‘despicable’ way staff were being treated.

CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said: ‘Our members worked miracles during the pandemic and know full well what they are worth.

‘They are fighting for a no-strings, real-terms pay rise – something they are fully entitled to.

‘Our members deserve a pay rise that rewards their fantastic achievements in keeping the country connected during the pandemic, but also helps them keep up during this current economic crisis.

‘We won’t be backing down until we get just that.’

Royal Mail vans parked up during a strike at a delivery office in Holmfirth

‘Honk if you back us! Royal Mail posties on strike for fair pay!’ A handmade sign near the Royal Mail delivery officer in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

‘And I have to say I have never known workers in Royal Mail to be so angry towards the employer,’ saod CWU boss Dave Ward

The Royal Mail has warned that strikes are costing them £1million a day, which threatens the job security of their postmen and women. Pictured: A banner falls down during a Royal Mail workers strike outside a delivery office in Huddersfield

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: ‘The CWU’s decision to announce further strike action is placing jobs at risk. Royal Mail is losing £1million a day. Strike action has weakened our financial position and is threatening the long-term job security of our postmen and women.

‘The CWU has a responsibility to recognise the reality of the situation Royal Mail faces as a business and to engage urgently on the changes required.

‘We are now a parcels business. We must adapt old ways of working designed for letters to a world increasingly dominated by parcels and act fast.

‘We want to protect well-paid, permanent jobs long-term and retain our place as the industry leader on pay, terms and conditions. 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 £1million pounds a day, we can only fund this offer by agreeing the changes that will pay for it.

‘We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimise any delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.’

Royal Mail said on strike days it will still deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked 24 parcels as possible. It will also prioritise the delivery of medical prescriptions where possible. 

The CWU has described the strikes as the biggest of the summer, which has also seen industrial action by rail workers, Openreach engineers, BT call centre staff, refuse collectors and barristers.

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