Royal Mail delivery staff in the United Kingdom launched a 48-hour strike on Friday, a move attached to a worsening dispute over pay. Postal deliveries across the country were hit after Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) walked out.
The union said the walkout by about 115,000 of its members is the biggest strike of the year amid long-running disputes in other sectors. The two sides held talks on Thursday, but there was no sign of any progress. The union is reportedly planning to step up industrial action in the coming weeks.
Another 19 days of strikes are on the cards on different days throughout October and November in a significant escalation of the dispute.
Dave Ward, the CWU’s general secretary, was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera, “This is a significant announcement, but it is one which matches the level of anger our members feel at the way Royal Mail Group has treated them.”
“The chief executive of Royal Mail Group is treating postal workers as if they are stupid. These are the same people that have kept the country connected and returned Royal Mail Group to record profit,” he said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Royal Mail said the impact of CWU’s action will be seen on the company’s financial position and the job security of its members.
“Royal Mail is losing one million pounds ($1.1 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,” the spokesman said.
(With inputs from agencies)