When could Royal mail workers go on strike? 2,400 managers set to walk out

·4-min read
Royal Mail workers are set to strike later this month (Getty Images)
Royal Mail workers are set to strike later this month (Getty Images)

Royal Mail staff are set to go on strike later this month in a dispute over “further attacks on jobs and pay.”

Unite, the managers’ trade union, says the industrial action will go ahead over Royal Mail’s plan to cut 700 jobs and cut pay by up to £7,000, despite the company paying out £400 million to shareholders and recording a £311 million profit.

However, a spokesperson for the Royal Mail told the Evening Standard: “We don’t recognise the £7,000 pay cut – it’s wrong. The 700 job losses were planned, have happened and achieved through voluntary redundancy.

“56% of people have had an increase and others have had their pay protected at their substantive grade.”

More than 2,000 managers are planning to strike over the dispute.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said in a statement: “This business is awash with cash but it is putting profits and dividends for the few at the top ahead of its duties as a public service.

“There is not a single aspect of these cuts which is about improving customer service. They are being driven entirely by a culture of greed and profiteering which has seized a 500-year-old essential service, driving it close to ruin.

“Our members are determined to force the business to take a different path, and they have the full backing of Unite.”

When could Royal Mail workers go on strike?

The Unite union says 2,400 managers will work to rule on July 15-19, which means they will follow the official rules and hours exactly to reduce their output and efficiency.

This will be followed by strike action on July 20-22.

What could happen during the Royal Mail strikes?

The Unite union says that during the strikes, the following will happen:

  • Deliveries will not be covered

  • Managers will take their breaks and start and finish on time

  • Managers will be taking their rest days leaving units with no manager on site

  • Weekends’ volunteer operation won’t be covered

  • Units will have no person in control responsible for the safety of the staff and buildings

  • Goodwill to work extra unpaid hours will cease

  • Some key services, like next-day delivery and tracked items, will be delayed

  • Postal staff may refuse to cross picket lines or work in unmanaged buildings

Why are Royal Mail staff striking?

Unite national officer with responsibility for Royal Mail, Mike Eatwell, said in a statement: “Our members have been forced to the position of taking industrial action because those running Royal Mail refuse to see sense.

“We have taken another detailed look at Royal Mail’s proposals, and it is worse than we first thought. The business is seeking to cut 700 posts on top of the 1,200 cuts last year. It is already running on fumes, depending on Unite members’ dedication and professionalism to hold the service together.

“For those managers who remain, they face cuts to their salaries of up to £7,000. People who gave their working lives to this business will lose their homes. It is no wonder then that our members are angry and ready to take strike action.

“Royal Mail knows what to do if it wants to avoid these strikes. Step back from these cuts and make a serious offer to Unite’s members that will restore jobs and preserve pay. Royal Mail can easily afford to do what is right.”

What is Royal Mail’s response?

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Unite/CMA has notified us of planned industrial action. There are no grounds for industrial action. The extended consultation on our recent restructure concluded earlier this year, and the restructuring is complete.

“We committed to protecting pay for all managers who stay with Royal Mail, and the vast majority have seen an increase in their earnings. We allowed managers to request voluntary redundancy with a package of up to two years’ salary, which was over-subscribed. We also made several concessions during the process, which Unite declined.

“We have contingency plans in place to minimise disruption for customers in the event of industrial action, and we will work to keep people, businesses and the country connected.”

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