Royal Mail says four days of strikes will push it to loss

<span>Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

Royal Mail has said the planned four days of strikes by 100,000 postal workers will push the company to a significant loss in the current financial year.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have announced they will take strike action around the August bank holiday weekend, on 26 and 31 August, and again on 8 and 9 September in a dispute over pay.

The union cautions consumers that deliveries and collections will be shut down across large parts of the UK during the industrial action, which could be the biggest strike of the summer.

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Royal Mail called the CWU’s decision to strike an “abdication of responsibility for the long‐term job security of its members”.

In a statement to the stock market on Wednesday, the company said: “If the announced strike action takes place, it is expected that Royal Mail in the UK would be materially loss making in FY2022‐23.”

It accused the union of failing “to engage meaningfully” on changes required in the business during three months of negotiations.

“The negative commercial impact of any strike action will only make pay rises less affordable and could put jobs at risk,” Royal Mail said.

“The CWU has a responsibility to recognise the reality of the situation Royal Mail faces as a business, and to engage urgently on the changes required.”

The company said it was willing to resume talks with the CWU to try to avert the strike and “prevent significant inconvenience for customers”.

However, the firm repeated its demand that “any talks must be about both change and pay”.

Royal Mail said it was working on contingency plans for the strike period and was working to minimise disruption, and to restore normal postal services after the industrial action.

It came as Craig Anderson, the Scottish regional secretary of the CWU, said that all deliveries and collections would be “shut down” across Scotland during the four days of strike action.

“We’re taking this action because we’ve been given no other option,” Anderson told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, adding that negotiations had broken down.

Anderson called on Royal Mail to “sit back round the table” and look at how the cost of living crisis is affecting its workers.

The CWU has previously said that Royal Mail’s reported 5.5% pay offer actually amounted to a 2% increase at a time of soaring inflation, which reached a 40-year high of 9.4% in June.

Royal Mail said in July that it was losing £1m a day, and threatened to split the domestic business from its profitable international arm if it could not achieve “significant operational change”.

The company has previously said it pays its workers 40% more than other parcels companies, and has claimed it has the best terms and conditions for staff in the industry.