THOUSANDS of postal workers across the country began a 48-hour strike action today morning against the “Uberisation” of Royal Mail.
About 115,000 members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) gathered today to demand better pay and working conditions, and are set to be back today for more.
The action will be followed by 19 further days of strikes in the build-up to Christmas.
Royal Mail’s management has made moves to service notice on workers’ rights agreements with the CWU and sideline union representatives in future decision-making processes, according to the union.
Talks were held between the two groups on Thursday, but no progress was made.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Postal workers in this country will not meekly accept having their lives being made worse for the benefit of a wealthy few.
“We are seeing a national outpouring of anger from workers who are sick to the back teeth of an incompetent business elite who want to destroy a great institution, worsen working conditions and damage the communities our members serve.
“Workers will never accept the Uberisation of Royal Mail, and nor will the public, who have backed us in unprecedented numbers in the past few months.”
Mr Ward said that the 19 days of action was significant but one that “matches the level of anger our members feel” at the way the company has treated them.
He said: “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 that the company bosses “have lost the dressing room,” and that unless they make efforts to get real on negotiating with workers’ representatives, serious disruption will continue.
Royal Mail hit out at the CWU for its “reckless pursuit” of industrial action, warning that the company was losing £1 million a day.
It has invited the union to negotiations through Acas.
“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,” a spokesperson said.