Royal Mail said it offered the CWU an enhanced pay deal of up to nine per cent over 18 months and would implement a new profit-share scheme for employees, among other improvements.
However, the CWU said the offer would turn Royal Mail into “a gig economy-style parcel courier, reliant on casual labour”.
As a result, Royal Mail employees went on strike over Black Friday weekend and will strike again in the days following Cyber Monday, as a long-running dispute about wages, jobs, and working conditions continues.
So why are the Royal Mail workers striking?
When will Royal Mail workers strike and will it affect Christmas?
The next full Royal Mail walkout - involving all CWU workers - will go ahead on Wednesday, November 30.
They plan to walk out again on December 1.
Different teams will walk out on the rest of the strike days, and a CWU spokesperson said that these stoppages will have a knock-on effect.
Following the resumption of the walkouts, these less extensive strikes were set for the following:
Processing, distribution, international, collections and admin workers: Thursday, November 24, and Thursday, December 1
Delivery workers: Friday, November 25 and Friday, December 2
Network workers: Wednesday, November 23, and Wednesday, November 30
The Communications Workers Union (CWU) had previously withdrawn walkouts due on November 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 10.
During strike days, special delivery parcels should still get to their destination, and Covid-19 test kits and prescriptions would be prioritised, said Royal Mail. Tracked 24 parcels will also be prioritised but anything else is likely to be stuck in post boxes or at sorting offices.
Read our guide on how to keep track of Christmas deliveries to avoid any disappointments this festive season.
Why are Royal Mail workers striking?
Royal Mail workers are striking over the Royal Mail Group’s decision to withdraw from major national agreements and cut workers’ terms and conditions.
The CWU says that employees who received a Real Living Wage (RLW) adjustment in April wouldn’t receive an annual pay rise, with the majority of cleaners affected by the decision.
Mark Baulch, the assistant secretary of the CWU, explained: “They made a formal commitment back in March, in writing and fully documented, and which is jointly signed, that the RLW uplift would be applied outside of the formal pay talks and ‘without prejudice’ to the 2022/23 annual pay negotiations.
“And yet, just a few months later, that management promise was wilfully broken – it was an absolute disgrace.”
The CWU said that although a minority of cleaners were offered a 50p-an-hour pay increase, 90 per cent of cleaners didn’t receive an annual pay rise.
The union is also seeking the same rights as other Royal Mail Group employees on issues like pensions, leave entitlement, holiday pay and parental leave.
What has Royal Mail said about the strikes?
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “On September 22, Royal Mail invited CWU to enter into talks through Acas to find a resolution to our dispute on change and pay. Rather than responding to our offer of Acas talks, the CWU announced further damaging industrial action, once again taking the path of prolonging disruption over resolution.
“Royal Mail is losing £1 million a day and must change faster in response to changing customer demands. We operate in a competitive market, and our customers have choices.
“Further strikes and resistance to transformation by CWU will only make our financial position worse, and threatens the long-term job security of our postmen and women.
“The CWU has a responsibility to recognise the reality of the situation Royal Mail faces as a business and engage urgently on the changes required.
“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.”