The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents Royal Mail Group workers, has announced the national postal service will go on strike for four days surrounding the August Bank Holiday.
CWU said over 115,000 postal workers will be taking part in the biggest strike of summer so far to demand a “dignified, proper pay rise”. It served notice to management that workers will take strike action on Friday 26th August, Wednesday 31st August, Thursday 8th September and Friday 9th September.
The decision follows the union’s recent ballot for strike action, which saw members vote by 97.6% on a 77% turnout to take action. The union is demanding that Royal Mail Group make an adequate pay award that covers the current cost of living increases for members. Royal Mail Group had announced a 2% pay rise.
CWU general secretary, Dave Ward, said: “Nobody takes the decision to strike lightly, but postal workers are being pushed to the brink.
“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.
“The CWU’s message to Royal Mail’s leadership is simple – there will be serious disruption until you get real on pay.”
While, Royal Mail stressed in a statement that there are no grounds for industrial action and called for further talks with CWU to “try to avert damaging industrial action, but it must be about both change and pay”.
The statement continued: “We have contingency plans in place, and will be working hard to minimise disruption and get our services back to normal as soon as we can to keep people, businesses and the country connected. Meanwhile you can continue to send your parcels and letters and we would encourage you to post early in advance of these dates.”
Operations development director at Royal Mail, Ricky McAulay, added: “The CWU have failed to engage in any meaningful discussion on the changes we need to modernise, or to come up with alternative ideas.
“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 £1m a day, we can only fund this offer by agreeing the changes that will pay for it.
“Royal Mail can have a bright future, but we can’t achieve that by living in the past.”
The news of strike action follows reports that Royal Mail is set to move parcel deliveries in 17 areas of the UK to 6pm at the earliest, in a bid to offer a bigger parcel service.