Skip to main content

Royal bail

By Charlie Rattigan
13 October 2022

By Charlie Rattigan

In a week where the last thing the government needs is another negative headline (labelled as the biggest national strike of any sector this year) the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has announced today that around 115,000 members will walk out in a 24-hour strike.

This is the first of 19 planned strike action days in the build up to the busy Christmas period, with workers expected to be out of action on the key retail days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The news comes after months of industrial unrest across several industries, most notably rail. Whilst the mail industry is somewhat less complicated, the underlying goals of seeking improved pay and conditions are aligned and represent the growing worker unrest in the UK.

As well as seeking a rise in pay, the CWU are concerned about planned structural change within the company, which would see sick-pay cuts, delayed arrival of post and inferior terms for new employees. Speaking on Sky News this morning, CWU General Secretary Dave Ward, labelled Royal Mail an “absolute disgrace” after claims they were losing £1million a day, despite making £758 million profit last year.

Topping off a scathing statement, Ward added that it was the “biggest assault on their pay, jobs, terms and conditions in the history of Royal Mail.” The strikes have also been publicly backed by Labour MP Zarah Sultana and the ever-growing pressure group, Enough is Enough. As mentioned in my previous SEC Newgate News article, the group’s growing influence and mobilisation power means their support for the strikes will only bolster the hand of CWU.

Justifying their planned structural changes, Royal Mail have said that they must “change faster in response to changing customer demands” and that the strike action will “threaten the job security of our postmen and women”.

After deadlocked talks and with the cost-of-living crisis worsening, the future looks bleak with little sign of a resolution agreement between the CWU and Royal Mail. Just another thing to add to the long list of woes for Liz Truss and the government.

It seems there’s no letting up from other industries either. The RMT are once again seeking a mandate to continue rail strikes into spring, having asked its members to back continuing a nationwide campaign of industrial action for a further six months.

It may be up to Gareth Southgate and the England team in Qatar to unite and lift the spirits of the British public as the country prepares for a potentially bleak winter.