More than 115,000 Royal Mail staff will strike – when will it happen?

·5 min read
Royal Mail staff striked over four days in August and September and will walk out over two more days this month  (Getty Images)
Royal Mail staff striked over four days in August and September and will walk out over two more days this month (Getty Images)

Royal Mail workers are set to strike over two more days in late September, the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) recently announced. This follows four days of strike action in August and September in a dispute over pay.

The union said it would be the biggest strike of the summer so far, with more than 115,000 workers set to walk out.

Royal Mail has said the strike would be “materially loss-making” in the current financial year. It also said the union had rejected a pay-rise offer “worth up to 5.5 per cent” after three months of talks.

The union is demanding a rise in pay that’s more in line with inflation, which currently stands at 9.4 per cent, and is expected to rise to 13 per cent later this year.

Find out when Royal Mail staff are striking below.

When will Royal Mail staff go on strike?

More than 115,000 Royal Mail workers will strike on September 8 and September 9. The CWU announced new strike action on September 30 and October 1, saying its 115,000 members were increasingly angry at an “imposed” 2% pay rise.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve. We can't keep on living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks.”

“When Royal Mail bosses are raking in £758 million in profit and shareholders pocketing in excess of £400 million, our members won't accept pleas of poverty from the company. Postal workers won’t meekly accept their living standards being hammered by greedy business leaders who are completely out of touch with modern Britain.

“They are sick of corporate failure getting rewarded again and again. Royal Mail's leadership have lost the dressing room – and unless they make efforts to get real on discussing a pay rise that postal workers deserve, serious disruption will continue.”

Royal Mail has said that letters will not be delivered on strike days, and has apologised to its customers, while also saying it has plans in place to minimise disruption.

Members of the CWU also walked out on August 26, 27, 30, and 31 with some of the action coinciding with strikes by BT, Openreach, and Royal Mail employees.

Approximately 2,000 Crown office, supply-chain, and admin workers walked out on August 26, the so-called ‘everyone-out’ day.

Crown office staff continued their action the following day, Saturday August 2, and their supply-chain and admin colleagues returned to their picket lines after the summer bank holiday, on Tuesday August 30.

Why are they striking?

The CWU says the Royal Mail Group hasn’t offered 5.5% on pay, but has imposed 2% and offered a further 1.5% “based on signing away our terms and conditions”.

The union also says the group offered £500 in 2023 for hitting “unachievable” targets.

According to CWU, the Royal Mail Group made £758 million in profit and gave £400 million to shareholders, and £2 million to two CEOs and finance officers in bonuses.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Nobody takes the decision to strike lightly, but postal workers are being pushed to the brink.

“There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve.”

He added: “We can’t keep on living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks.

“The CWU’s message to Royal Mail’s leadership is simple – there will be serious disruption until you get real on pay.”

What has Royal Mail said about the strikes?

Royal Mail said in a statement: “Royal Mail believes there are no grounds for industrial action. Royal Mail is ready to talk further with the CWU to try to avert damaging industrial action but it must be about both change and pay.

“We have contingency plans in place, and will be working hard to minimise disruption and get our services back to normal as soon as we can to keep people, businesses, and the country connected.

“Meanwhile, you can continue to send your parcels and letters and we would encourage you to post early in advance of these dates.”

Royal Mail operations development director Ricky McAulay said: “After more than three months of talks, the CWU has failed to engage in any meaningful discussion on the changes we need to modernise, or to come up with alternative ideas.

“The CWU rejected our offer worth up to 5.5% for CWU grade colleagues, the biggest increase we have offered for many years.

“In a business that is currently losing £1 million a day, we can only fund this offer by agreeing the changes that will pay for it. Royal Mail can have a bright future, but we can’t achieve that by living in the past.”

On the latest announced strikes, CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey said: “We’re as determined as we have ever been to keep fighting and win a settlement that will protect our members’ standards of living through these exceptionally difficult economic times.”

“Although ours is a separate trade dispute to that of our Royal Mail colleagues – and our BT Openreach fellow members – the issues at stake here are all remarkably similar. A profitable company, a workforce who performed exceptionally during the pandemic – as key workers, continuing to attend work throughout – and an arrogant and uncaring senior management who seem dead set on attacking, impoverishing, and humiliating its own employees,” he added.

“And just like our fellow members in those other, larger companies, our Post Office members will stand and fight, fight and fight again until justice is served.”