Royal Mail has warned customers that “services will be affected” by postal workers striking in a row over pay, job security and working conditions, adding that the walkouts are “likely to cause you some disruption” in the run-up to Christmas.
Having already downed tools on several dates in recent months and on 1, 9 and 11 December, members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) responsible for collecting, sorting and delivering letters and parcels did so again on Wednesday and Thursday and will once more on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 December, placing Christmas deliveries in jeopardy.
“Royal Mail has well-developed contingency plans, but we cannot fully replace the daily efforts of our frontline workforce,” the company said on its website.
“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.”
Giving an update on the ongoing negotiations between itself and the CWU, the Royal Mail said: “Following several months of talks between Royal Mail and Communication Workers Union, including ACAS facilitation, Royal Mail has shared a best and final offer for pay and change.
“The revised offer includes extensive improvements that have been made during the negotiations with the CWU, including an enhanced pay deal of 9 per cent over 18 months and a number of other concessions to terms and agreements. The offer is subject to agreeing a programme of change with the CWU.
“We’re urging CWU leadership to accept the change and pay offer, call off future damaging strike action, for the good of our customers and our people. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimise delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”
However, Andy Furey, acting deputy general secretary of the CWU, said the dispute was unlikely to be resolved anytime soon and that there are plans to ballot members well into the new year for more industrial action.
He said CWU’s most recent offer had been “thrown back in our face” and there are “no further talks planned at this stage”.
On the days on which national strike action is planned, the Royal Mail has pledged to deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked 24 parcels as possible and to prioritise the delivery of Covid-19 test kits and medical prescriptions where possible.
It has advised customers to post their items as early as possible ahead of strike dates and to continue to leave their items in post boxes and at Post Offices, with the caveat that fewer collections will be taking place because of the strikes.
On the prospect of delays, Royal Mail states: “Items posted the day before, during or in the days after any strike action will be subject to delay. We will provide further details of the expected delays to items during the period of industrial action.”
The last remaining post dates before Christmas this year are as follows:
- Friday 16 December – 1st Class, 1st Class Signed For, Royal Mail 24, Royal Mail Tracked 48
- Monday 19 December – Royal Mail Tracked 2
- Wednesday 21 December – Special Delivery Guaranteed
You can find information on Royal Mail’s compensation policy here.