Why are post office workers striking and how will it impact Christmas deliveries?

Royal Mail strikes will occur during December, causing delays to your post during the busiest time of the year  (PA Wire)
Royal Mail strikes will occur during December, causing delays to your post during the busiest time of the year (PA Wire)

Thousands of postal workers have begun a 48-hour strike in the run-up to Black Friday after talks between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) ended without agreement.

Deliveries will be disrupted by ten additional strike days at the busiest time of the year for the postal service.

Industrial action will take place on November 24 and 25, with further disruptions planned for November 30 and December 1, just two days after Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online shopping days. There will be six additional days of industrial action in December, including Christmas Eve.

Royal Mail said it had made its “best and final offer” and accused the union of “holding Christmas to ransom”.

But the CWU said the offer would “spell the end of Royal Mail as we know it”.

Royal Mail said changes to the business were “not optional” but what does this mean for your post during the busiest time of the year for deliveries?

Why are Royal Mail workers striking?

As part of the long-running dispute between workers and senior management at the Royal Mail, the decision to strike due to pay and conditions was announced.

Royal Mail Group’s senior management had withdrawn from major national agreements and instead chose to implement cuts to workers’ terms and conditions, with the union saying it had been “completely side-lined”.

The union had previously stated that their original pay offer was a “dramatic real-terms pay cut” as per the rising cost of living and inflation.

According to the BBC, the median pay at Royal Mail is £32,465 a year, with the average pay for a postal-delivery worker lower than that, at £25,777.

Royal Mail is in “intensive” talks with unions to avert further strikes but is making up to 6,000 redundancies, as part of efforts to reduce full-time roles by 10,000 by next August to slash costs.

It said it has so far focused efforts on the removal of overtime, not filling empty posts, and a reduction in temporary workers, but gave no update on how many roles have gone.

However, Dave Ward, the CWU’s general secretary, alongside the Royal Mail workers, said about the strike: “This is a significant announcement, but it is one which matches the level of anger our members feel at the way Royal Mail Group has treated them.

“The chief executive of Royal Mail Group is treating postal workers as if they are stupid. These are the same people that have kept the country connected and returned Royal Mail Group to record profit.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Our preference is for an agreement with the CWU but the change we need is not optional.

“They should be focused on a resolution to this dispute for their members and the long-term health of the business, rather than damaging strike action.”

What days will be affected by the Royal Mail strike?

Royal Mail postal strikes were originally going to take place on November 12 and 14, but the union cancelled them, stating it wants to take more “proportionate” action.

Now Royal Mail workers will stage six more days of strike action as part of the latest walkouts.

These will include December 9, 11, 14, 15, 23, and 24.

This is in addition to strikes already notified for November 24, 25, and 30, and December 1.

What will happen to your post during this striking period?

Significant delays of post will be likely, with advice stating early posting is your best option.

Items which are posted either the day before or the day of strike action will be delayed, which includes collections of mail by Parcelforce Worldwide.

Some branches will also be affected and may not accept mail on these striking days.

No post is guaranteed unless you pay for Special Delivery Guaranteed.