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Royal Mail reports £219m loss as Black Friday strike goes ahead


Royal Mail has reported an adjusted operating loss of £219m in the first-half of 2022, with the postal service blaming weak parcel volumes, inability to deliver productivity improvements and impacts from industrial action.

The ongoing strike is set to continue on 24 November, 25 November, 30 November and 01 December after Royal Mail and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) failed to reach an agreement over pay and terms.

CWU’s general secretary Dave Ward accused the Royal Mail Group CEO and the board of creating deep financial problems by continually engaging in “dramatic errors of judgement”.

While, Royal Mail warned it may need to cut up to 6,000 roles by next August if the damaging strikes continue

Simon Thompson, chief executive, Royal Mail, said: “We have always been clear we need change to survive. We have started turning the business around and will do whatever it takes. We have worked hard to deploy our contingency plans to minimise disruption to customers and impact on revenue.

“Our infrastructure plans are on time and we are now making the operational changes to turn Royal Mail into a thriving business that will provide great service for our customers at a competitive price and long-term job security for our people.”

The CWU recognised that progress in recent negotiations had been made in some aspects, but stressed that Royal Mail management did not put any commitments into writing.

“The truth is that the current senior leadership of Royal Mail have been treating employees, union representatives or future investors with a lack of integrity and transparency,” Ward said.

“Dramatic errors of judgement have been made, like announcing 10,000 job losses to threaten striking workers, abandoning previous agreements and handing over £567 million to shareholders while neglecting the pay of employees who generated that profit.

“Many things remain unexplained, like giving up Royal Mail’s household name in favour of ‘International Distributions Services’, refusing the union’s offer to escalate negotiations and ignoring the unrivalled network of Royal Mail Group to create new financial opportunities.”

Talks scheduled to end earlier this week have now been extended in the hope of securing a deal for postal workers. The CWU concluded that 32 million households and countless small businesses are relying on this dispute to be over for the Christmas period. While, Thompson said Royal Mail “would prefer to reach agreement with the CWU, but in any case we are moving ahead with changes to transform our business.”

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