Black Friday and Cyber Monday strike action for Royal Mail workers

Royal Mail workers have announced two 48-hour strikes to coincide with the busiest online shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Communication Workers Union (CWU) at Royal Mail are to strike on 24, 25 and 30 November and 1 December.

The strikes are intended to coincide with Black Friday on 25 November and Cyber Monday on 28 November.

Improved pay and conditions are being sought by workers who accuse Royal Mail of the "Uberisation" of the company and the "destruction" of their work conditions.

Royal Mail rejects claims it is involved in the casualisation of work.

"We have the best terms and condition in the industry. We pay 40%more than other parcels companies," a Royal Mail spokesperson said.

"We want to retain those terms and conditions. The best way to do that is to make the changes we require."

Further action by postal workers has been hinted at. The CWU said its postal executive will meet on Thursday to discuss new action in the build-up to Christmas.

The union is to hold a vote in an effort to reject a deal offered by Royal Mail on Monday. A vote of confidence in Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson is also to take place.

The deal offers a 7% two-year pay offer, the CWU said, which it described as "derisory" and "a dramatic real-terms pay cut".

Also included in the pay deal are mail centre closures, changes to Sunday working and "widespread changes over introducing Uber-style owner-drivers", the union added.

Strikes were to take place this week and next before they were withdrawn by the union on Sunday.

"But 115,000 of our members will not just accept this war on their livelihoods and their industry," CWU general secretary Dave Ward said.

"Simon Thompson has to either accept that or walk away - until he does one or the other, serious disruption will continue."

Last month the company will begin a process to make 5,000 to 6,000 roles redundant by August next year.

The announcement was blamed on industrial action taken by Royal Mail workers, delays in improving productivity and falling parcel volumes.

The Royal Mail spokesperson said the company proposed a new "pay-for-change offer" to the CWU worth 9% over two years, despite making a loss of £219 million in the first half of the year.

"The CWU have been in talks with us at Acas and claim they are open to change, but they now need to show it.

"Instead, the CWU have announced four days of strike action which will damage our business further at our busiest time of year.

"The CWU is playing a dangerous game with its members' jobs and the future of Royal Mail. We urge CWU to withdraw these strikes, 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."