UK’s Royal Mail on strike as further industrial action looms

“It is proof that postal workers will not accept their livelihoods being destroyed so that a few at the top can generate serious profits at their expense.” Small businesses with an online shop, whether that’s on Etsy, Depop, or another platform, will need to adjust estimated delivery times if using Royal Mail over this period. Royal Mail employees have gone on strike in Britain as the country braces for more industrial action ahead of what is being called a new “winter of discontent”. He added that the vote for strike action was “also a vote of no confidence in Royal Mail’s CEO and board, who should seriously consider their futures” at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday. About 115,000 members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) were balloted and voted 96.7% in favour of strikes, on a turnout of 77%. The result of the ballot was announced by the union’s general secretary, Dave Ward, and its deputy general secretary, Terry Pullinger, at the York Barbican, where about 300 CWU members were gathered.

  1. With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you.
  2. The average pay rise for workers in the private sector was 6.9% between August and October.
  3. Staff will no longer strike on Thursday, 16 February, after Royal Mail challenged the way the industrial action had been called, citing a “legal error”.
  4. “The proposed agreement will now be considered by the executive of the union before being voted on by the union’s membership.
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Parenting advice, hot topics, best buys and family finance tips delivered straight to your inbox. The company has said it will need to split if it cannot achieve “significant operational change.” The Postal Services Act allowed private buyers to own up to 90% of Royal Mail, with staff entitled to 10% of the company’s shares. Royal Mail said this was its its “best and final offer”, and accused the union of “holding Christmas to ransom”. Ricky McAulay, operations director at Royal Mail, said the CWU has failed to engage in “any meaningful discussion” after months of talks. Royal Mail and the Post Office are separate companies, so Royal Mail strikes usually don’t affect the Post Office opening hours.

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This is part of a long-running dispute between unions, rail firms, the government and Network Rail over pay, job cuts and changes to terms and conditions. But a spokesman for the CWU said that Royal Mail has offered workers a 3% pay rise this year, 3% next year as well as an additional 2% if employees agree to “the absolute destruction” of terms and conditions. The union has announced 19 days of strike action in the buildup to the busy Christmas period. The industrial action will cover peak periods such as Black Friday on 25 November and Cyber Monday on 28 November. The union accuses the company of planning structural changes, which would in effect transform employees in secure, well-paid jobs into a “casualised, financially precarious workforce overnight”.

In April 2012, Post Office Ltd became independent of the postal service Royal Mail Group as part of the Postal Services Act 2011. The UK government had initially retained a 30 per cent stake in Royal Mail, but ended the 499 years of state ownership when its shares were sold. Any small business using Royal Mail to ship online orders will need to plan ahead for delays and make sure they communicate this to their customers.

What is Royal Mail’s response?

“We have taken another detailed look at Royal Mail’s proposals, and it is worse than we first thought. It is already running on fumes, depending on Unite members’ dedication and professionalism to hold the service together. Royal Mail strikes will make sending and receiving letters and parcels through the coinberry review post less reliable in the run-up to Christmas. At the time, Mr Ward said the union’s leaders did not believe more strikes were the right thing to do but there might come a time when more industrial action is called. In May 2022, Royal Mail announced they had turned a profit of £758m that business year.

Thompson apologised to customers for a “disrupted service” during the strike by workers, but said that change was necessary for the company. Where possible, apply for your Passport using our Check & Send service at least two days before strikes are due to take place. In the case of receiving your biometric residence permit, your branch may be able to advise you as to how long a delay you could experience. “It is insulting the intelligence of every postal worker for the Royal Mail chief executive, Simon Thompson, to claim that their change agenda is ‘modernisation’. Mr Eatwell claims Royal Mail was looking to cut 700 jobs on top of 1,200 slashed last year, with managers who remain facing cuts to salaries of up to £7,000.

How will the Royal Mail strike affect small businesses?

It said plans by the postal service include cutting workers’ sick pay, delaying arrival of post by three hours and inferior terms for new employees. The CWU said the plans included delaying the arrival of post to the public by three hours, cuts in workers’ sick pay and inferior terms for new employees. Order your travel money for collection or home delivery at least two or three days before industrial action is due to take place. You can also get a Travel Money Card in branch – use the branch finder to find your nearest participating branch.

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“We’ve been at a crossroads and we were moving forward, and Simon decided this was the opportunity for him to step down and appoint new leadership,” Williams said. “We’ll continue to revise and improve performance in all our units every year,” the IDS chair, Keith Williams, said. “There is not a single aspect of these cuts which is about improving customer service.

Items posted the day before and the day of strike action will be delayed in reaching their end destination. While the industrial action will be carried out by managers, the union warned postal staff might also refuse to work in unmanaged buildings. Delays to key services such as next-day delivery and tracked items could potentially be impacted. This is set to be followed by three days of strike action between 20 and 22 July.

What do people have to say about the postal strike?

With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it’s public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we’ll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we’re a good fit. A representative for Royal Mail said that the company must modernise its working practices to address its losses, which it says amount to £1 million per day. The first-ever nationwide strike by nurses is also expected to go ahead this week.

In 2020, the Daily Express reported that postal worker salaries at Royal Mail can range from £13,007 – £34,582, and that the hourly rate is thought to be between £10 and £11. Strikes have been organised in November and December by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) over a dispute with pay and terms and conditions. “Despite nearly three months of talks, the CWU have not engaged in any meaningful discussion on the changes we need to make to adapt. He said the union was not opposed to modernisation, “but modernisation seems to be about workers having to work harder and faster for less pay”.

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher. Businesses using alternative courier services to ship their products won’t face any disruption as a result of the Royal Mail strike. Collections of mail by Royal Mail and ParcelForce Worldwide from post office branches will also be disrupted. This latest industrial action follows earlier walkouts in August and September, and has impacted peak shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

They add, “We’ll be doing what we can to keep services running, but we are sorry this planned strike action is likely to cause you some disruption.” Due to the strike action, the Royal Mail has brought forward the last posting days for delivery before Christmas. General Secretary Dave Ward said that postal workers face their “biggest ever assault on their jobs, terms and conditions in the history of Royal Mail”. The CWU said plans include delaying the arrival of post to members of the public by three hours, cuts in workers’ sick pay and inferior terms for new employees.

It is no wonder then that our members are angry and ready to take strike action. Post offices will remain open as they aren’t involved in this dispute, so businesses can still post parcels for delivery. Delivery of items posted the day before strikes, or during strike days, will be delayed. To applause from members, Ward said Royal Mail workers “need to see a pay rise now that reflects … that they have turned the fortunes of the company around, and the cost of living crisis”.

This is the sixth strike for postal workers, and comes after a summer of unrest which saw rail workers and criminal barristers walk out amid disputes with their employers. The planned 19 days of industrial action include Black Friday week and Cyber Monday, as well as 13, 20, and 25 October, and 28 November. Royal Mail workers are holding the first of 19 strikes in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions. It comes as Royal Mail said the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents the strikers, had rejected a pay rise offer “worth up to 5.5%” after three months of talks. On strike days it will deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked 24 parcels as possible, it said.