Royal Mail workers on strike in Wolverhampton say dispute could rumble on over Christmas

A union representative has warned that if senior managers don't get back to the table then the dispute could rumble on throughout Christmas.

Striking workers outside Royal Mail delivery office in Sun Street, Wolverhampton
Striking workers outside Royal Mail delivery office in Sun Street, Wolverhampton

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) walked out, hitting deliveries of post across the country.

As the latest set of strikes begin, Royal Mail workers have expressed their concern for their households amid timetable changes and a "forced" two per cent pay rise.

So far around 115,000 staff have walked out in protest, but staff are now concerned about the loss of family-life.

Phil Reade, 56, from Wednesfield, who is spokesman for the strike action at Wolverhampton and who works as a CWU sub-representative of delivery, said: "We need the pay. Royal Mail has enforced this pay rise without talking to us, and they think that's good enough.

"What's worse is now the Royal Mail is attacking our terms and conditions, the senior managers want us on the streets until eight or nine at night, we have staff who have families and children, what will they do?"

The change comes as the company attempts to modernise to compete with industry powerhouses Yodel and Parcelforce.

This year Royal Mail posted a £92 million loss, which the delivery service blames on "customer demands" and "the current competitiveness of the market"

Mr Reade warns that further disruptions and changes could prolong the protests.

He said: "We fully understand that this could go on into Christmas, we don't want that to happen, but we know we have the public on our side.

"We aren't opposed to change, we are opposed to changes that aren't in our interest and take place without our consultation, we are in this for the long-haul, we are all in this till the end.

"We really don't want this to go into Christmas, we are here for the public, but we have the public behind us, we just want to get back to the table to negotiate a fair deal."

The strikes are set to end Sunday, but more strikes are set to place in the coming months.

Talks between the two sides were held on Thursday but there was no sign of any progress being made and the union is planning to step up industrial action in the coming weeks.

A further 19 days of strikes have been announced on different days throughout October and November in a major escalation of the dispute.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “The chief executive of Royal Mail Group is treating postal workers as if they are stupid."

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “The CWU can be in no doubt of the impact its reckless pursuit of 19 days of industrial action has on our weakened financial position and the job security of its members.

“Royal Mail is losing £1 million a day. We operate in a competitive market, and our customers have choices. Continued strike action will force our customers to make those choices sooner rather than later.

“Our invitation to enter into talks through Acas remains open. Our people need the CWU leadership to recognise the reality of the situation Royal Mail faces as a business, and to engage urgently on the changes required to adapt to customer demands in a highly competitive market.

“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.”

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