Photo Credit: The CWU (@CWUnews) Twitter Handle

The view outside the Parliament turned pink as thousands of postal workers from Royal Mail staged another day of strike on December 9, 2022, over pay and working conditions.

The ongoing strike of Royal Mail postal workers over pay and working conditions is said to  follow in the run-up to Christmas, affecting the festive season. 

They gathered to raise their voices against the changes made by the company, which they thought would turn them into “gig” economy workers.

The strike has been supported by the Communication Worker Union (CWU), which represents postal workers. The CWU proposed a rise in pay and changes in the working conditions of postal workers. 

Thousands of postal workers gathered outside the Parliament.

Photo Credit: The CWU (@CWUnews) Twitter Handle

The set of strikes on December 23 and Christmas Eve, the company’s busiest days of the year, will affect the delivery process across the UK, resulting in millions of households getting their packages late.

The Chief Commercial Officer of Royal Mail, Nick Landon, said: “The CWU is striking at our busiest time, holding Christmas to ransom for our customers, businesses and families across the country.”

Royal Mail apologised to their customers for the delay in parcels that needed to be delivered before Christmas and couldn’t have been done because of CWU strike actions. 

Landon said: “We apologise to our customers for any disruption and delay that the CWU strike action is causing. We ask our customers to post early for Christmas to help us deliver Christmas.”

Royal Mail delivery van

Photo Credit: Shivansh Sharma

The CWU claims that Royal Mail’s management was not treating their employees (postal workers) with respect, as they refused to enter negotiations that would have averted strikes.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: “Royal Mail bosses are risking a Christmas meltdown because of their stubborn refusal to treat their employees with respect.”

Ward added: “Postal workers want to get on with serving the communities they belong to, delivering Christmas gifts and tackling the backlog from recent weeks.”

The dispute between Royal Mail company and postal workers began last summer after the company rejected the demands raised by the union on the pay rise that matched the soaring cost of living.

Royal Mail postal workers on strike over pay and working conditions.

Photo Credit: Shivansh Sharma

Royal Mail postal worker Bez Besim, 60, said: “We asked for a pay increase to keep in line with inflation, with no conditions, but Royal Mail came back with many changes to terms and conditions. But we said that’s not good enough.”

Royal Mail stated that they had offered a great deal worth up to 9 per cent over 18 months, deeming it as “the best and final offer”.

The CWU also objected to changing the working conditions, as the company was ending the number of allowances and introducing work compulsorily on Sundays.

Besim said: “There were unacceptable Terms and Conditions. Not a single worker in the country would accept any of those conditions. So we had no choice but to fight.”

The postal worker also blamed Royal Mail for not giving out anything from the profits they made during the pandemic, as postal workers handed out many parcels because people couldn’t go shopping during that period.

Besim said: “During the pandemic, Royal Mail forecasted that they would make an approximately 400 million pound loss. But we turned that around into a 750 million pound profit for the business.”

Royal Mail gave out a large portion of profits to their shareholders.

Besim mentioned: “Royal Mail gave the shareholders 400 million pounds out of the profits but nothing for us.”  

The postal workers felt sorry for going on strike at Christmas when many people were waiting for their presents and letters to be delivered from loved ones.

“We’re sorry. But there are shops you can go to if you’re that desperate to buy presents and stuff, but we have to fight. If we don’t, we’re all racing to the bottom.” 

Royal Mail delivery vans at the Southwark depot.

Photo Credit: Shivansh Sharma

The strikes will continue throughout December, the busiest month for deliveries due to Christmas. The CWU has planned another wave of strikes in the Christmas run-up on December 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24.

Royal Mail has asked its customers to post their mail earlier than usual for Christmas this year due to the ongoing strike action by CWU.

The changes to Latest Recommended Posting Dates are designed to help the company keep the mail moving in the run-up to the Christmas period when mail volumes are higher.

With the threat of more deliberate CWU strike action across the UK, Royal Mail continues to deploy a range of contingency plans to keep communities, businesses and the country connected throughout the CWU’s ongoing industrial action.