Postal workers across Lanarkshire have begun staging strikes amid long-running disputes over pay and working conditions.
Members of the Communication Workers Union participated in the industrial action on Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1.
It saw posties form a picket line outside the Hamilton Delivery Office on Brandon Street in the town.
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And they were supported by Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon who came down on the day to listen to workers’ concerns.
The Scottish Labour politician has since called the Royal Mail’s offer of a two per cent pay rise “laughable” as she backs the calls of local postal workers for fairer pay.
The stance comes as Royal Mail workers voiced concerns over the current cost of living crisis.
The strike action is part of a wider campaign which could see Royal Mail carriers walkout for 19 days before the year’s end.
It’s understood this is in response to the Royal Mail’s own decision to table a two per cent pay rise without proper consultation of the CWU.
But the Royal Mail has since told that the union rejected a recent offer “worth up to 5.5 per cent for CWU grade colleagues”, and has called its potential 19 days of industrial action “reckless”.
Speaking after Friday’s strikes, Ms Lennon told Lanarkshire Live : “This morning it was important to brave the weather and hear from striking postmen at the Royal Mail’s Hamilton Delivery Office.
“The strike was made necessary after Royal Mail chiefs implemented a two per cent rise without adequate consultation of the CWU, a laughable offer considering the dividends Royal Mail shareholders pocket every year.
“The cost-of-living crisis in this country is appalling. With inflation surging to almost 12 per cent, a two per cent rise is derisory.
“These men and women have kept the country going in times of crisis like COVID and now find themselves at the mercy of this crisis, thanks to bosses who would rather line their own pockets than see their workers paid a fair share for the vital services they provide.
“I was glad to see so many members of the public support the CWU, and I wish the posties every success and solidarity in their future industrial actions.”
CWU member Scott Clacy added: “All we want is fair pay in line with inflation, and for Royal Mail to stop their attacks on our pay and conditions.”
There are 19 days of industrial action planned in total, which are likely to affect Black Friday and Christmas deliveries.
It’s estimated that around 110,000 staff will take part in the next round of walk-outs which is scheduled for Thursday, October 13.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “The CWU can be in no doubt of the impact its reckless pursuit of 19 days of industrial action has on our weakened financial position and the job security of its members.
“Royal Mail is losing £1 million a day. We operate in a competitive market, and our customers have choices. Continued strike action will force our customers to make those choices sooner rather than later.
“Our invitation to enter into talks through Acas remains open. Our people need the CWU leadership to recognise the reality of the situation Royal Mail faces as a business, and to engage urgently on the changes required to adapt to customer demands in a highly competitive market.
“We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimise and delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”
The spokesperson added: “The CWU has rejected our offer worth up to 5.5 per cent for CWU grade colleagues, the biggest increase we have offered for many years.”
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