WEST Fifers could be facing a long wait for their mail deliveries as workers announce industrial action over pay disputes.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) have served notice to Royal Mail that members will strike at the end of this month.
This follows and offer of a two per cent wage rise on staff, while the union says this is not enough and that employees are already being forced to use food banks.
Garry Haldane, Dunfermline postie and former Councillor, told the Press: “None of us want to go on strike – but it’s the principle, we can’t just sit back.
“It seems the only way we can get there is to threaten strike action.”
The decision follows the union’s recent ballot for strike action, which saw 77 per cent of members vote with 97.6 per cent in favour.
CWU say this was the biggest mandate for strike action reached since the implementation of the 2016 Trade Union Act.
They are demanding that Royal Mail Group make an adequate pay award that covers the current cost of living increases – as inflation soars to 11.7% – for members.
Mr Haldane called the move “inevitable” and said that while the company is making money, workers are not receiving their fair share.
“The job is getting harder,” he added.
“You are out on the street longer, four and a half hours in long enough for anyone.
“They are making money but we threaten strike action and suddenly they are losing millions a day.”
He also noted that the Dunfermline centre already has a high staff turnover and that with some of their longest serving staff members leaving or retiring, the service could struggle.
CWU General Secretary Dave Ward says that “postal workers are being pushed to the brink” by a lack of support from the company.
He also confirmed Mr Haldane’s view that bosses and shareholders have benefitted hugely while front-line staff struggle.
He said: “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 pleads 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.”
The company themselves say that they are losing one million pounds every day and that changes are part of a ‘modernisation’.
Ricky McAulay, Operations Director, Royal Mail said: “After more than three months of talks, the CWU have 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 pounds 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. By modernising we can offer more of what our customers want at a price they are willing to pay, all whilst protecting jobs on the best terms and conditions in our industry. The CWU’s failure to engage on the changes we need is an abdication of responsibility for the long-term job security of their members.”
He further apologised to customers and said that Royal Mail will try to minimise disruption and enter talks with CWU to avert strike action.
Strike action will take place on August 26 and 31, and September 8 and 9.
On these days Royal Mail say they will deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked24 parcels as possible, prioritise delivery of COVID test kits and medical prescriptions, and suspent the delivery of letters with the exception of Special Delivery.
Customers are advised to post items as early as possible in advance of the strike dates, continue to post items at Post boxes or Post Offices, and visit royalmail.com/latest-news for the latest detailed information on services.