Home / Royal Mail / ‘Proud postie’ challenges Royal Mail CEO to week on the job as he joins colleagues on picket line

‘Proud postie’ challenges Royal Mail CEO to week on the job as he joins colleagues on picket line

A “proud” postman has challenged the CEO of Royal Mail, Simon Thompson, to a week on the job as he joins the picket line in Leicester. Lee Chapman, who delivers post in Beaumont Leys, said he was struggling in the job he has loved for 10 years, as he joined colleagues on the picket line over an ongoing pay dispute between the company and the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

The 36-year-old picketed outside the Leicester North Delivery Office, in Belgrave, yesterday, on day two of the strike – the latest in a series of planned walkouts. Union members are walking out over jobs, conditions and pay, which the union says should be increased to match the cost of living.

Lee, who is also a Jamie Vardy impersonator with a significant online following, said the postal service was being “stripped down” and workers like him were “doing far more for far less”. The CWU rejected what the Royal Mail said was its “final offer” – a pay deal worth 9 per cent over 18 months.

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“I’m a proud postie of 10 years but morale is down,” Lee said. “The service has been in very slow decline for years. We’re doing far more for far less. The 9 per cent pay offer had so many strings attached – more strings than a Thunderbird puppet.”

Lee claimed a change to the working dynamic and rotas, under the new offer, would mean he and his colleagues would struggle to find time to pick up children from school and leave them having to rely on paid childcare, which many, Lee said, would struggle to afford.

Although proud of his role as a postie, Lee said he was struggling to take pride in the service while letters were piling up. But he added that he hoped customers would understand why they were striking.

Lee also wrote on Twitter that on Wednesday, November 30, he had seven days’ worth of mail “rotting” in the office, including NHS letters and insurance and tax-related documents, all of which, he claimed, were being “left” while parcels took priority. “What’s more frustrating is us then being expected to deliver four, five or even six days of post in a small time frame. The weight of those bags is like nothing I’ve had to carry before. The workload is nowhere near doable.”

Lee Chapman said he sympathised with customers but hopes they understand why he and others were striking.

He added: “I would challenge the CEO to join me on my rounds for a week and see what the real work is like – I would even pay for his stay in Leicester.”

Lee, who works part-time, says he walks up to 95 miles in a week no matter what the weather. “I love my job – but not at the minute,” he said.

Royal Mail said the CWU was “holding Christmas to ransom” as more strike dates are planned throughout December in the run-up to holiday.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “The CWU is striking at our busiest time, holding Christmas to ransom for our customers, businesses and families across the country. We apologise to our customers and strongly urge them to post early for Christmas.

“We are proud to have the best pay and conditions in our industry. In an industry dominated by the ‘gig economy’, insecure work, and low pay, our model sets us apart and we want to preserve it.

“Despite losing more than £1 million a day, we have made a best and final pay offer worth up to 9 per cent. Strike action has already cost our people £1,000 each and is putting more jobs at risk.

“The money allocated to the pay deal should be going to our people, but it risks being eaten away by the costs of further strike action. We once again urge the CWU to call off strike action. We remain available to meet to discuss our best and final offer.”

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