Royal Mail: Why the postal strike has been called off

Royal Mail: Why the postal strike has been called off

Strike action by Royal Mail postal workers has been called off.

A two-day strike over pay was called off after legal challenges from Royal Mail, said the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU).

The strikes were originally set for February 16 and 17, however, lawyers were advised that the union could risk losing in court, despite being able to defend its position, said a CWU statement.

It read: “The laws in this country are heavily weighted against working people,” the union’s lawyers said, adding, “The risks of losing in court may potentially impact on the re-ballot – we simply cannot allow this happen.”

The CWU’s strike mandate runs out on February 17 and members are currently being balloted on their decision to possibly strike for a further six months in the bitter dispute over pay and conditions.

Why has CWU been striking?

The union said that Royal Mail has been implementing changes to work practises in post offices across the country that had not been agreed.

The CWU said that changes “directly contravened the industrial relations framework” between themselves and Royal Mail by removing the right to negotiate.

Workers had previously rejected a nine per cent pay rise in exchange for changes to working hours. The union had completed 18 days of national strikes in 2022, which came to a head around Christmas.

The strikes last year cost Royal Mail an estimated £100 million.

What CWU and Royal Mail say on strike action

Dave Ward, head of the CWU, has claimed Royal Mail is using a “punishment charter” and is trying to intimidate workers who strike, adding that union representatives have been suspended.

Simon Thompson, CEO of Royal Mail, argues that CWU members are the ones adopting “extraordinary behaviours” claiming he has received allegations of violence, racism, and sexism on picket lines.

This comes after Thompson has been recalled to Parliament after a grilling session in front of the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Committee last month questioning his own finances.

Thompson received a £140,000 bonus on top of his half-a-million-pound salary.

This is despite Royal Mail operating a loss of around £1 million a day, with a number of redundancies for other staff members in order to cut costs.

Royal Mail responded: “We welcome the opportunity to expand on any points on which the committee would like clarification, and share the steps we are taking to resolve this dispute and secure the long-term future of Royal Mail for our people and customers.”