Home / Royal Mail / Royal Mail staff go on strike with people warned to post Christmas cards a week early

Royal Mail staff go on strike with people warned to post Christmas cards a week early

Postman Pat joined the striking mail workers gathered in Parliament Square today (Picture: Getty)

If you haven’t posted your Christmas cards yet, now is the time to get organised and post them out.

This year, the dash to the post office on December 20 is unlikely to get your messages to their destination on time.

That’s because posties are among around 115,000 Royal Mail staff to go on strike over the festive period, meaning the last post dates for first and second class mail have been brought forward by around a week.

Today is the first day of six days of planned action in December over some of the busiest post days of the year, so if you didn’t get a letter you expected today then this could be why.

The last date to send second class post before Christmas is Monday December 12 (alarmingly close if you haven’t even bought your cards yet…) while for first class post it’s Friday December 16.

And even if you choose special delivery guaranteed, the final date is Wednesday December 21.

Planned strike dates

Royal Mail workers will go on strike across the UK over jobs, pay and conditions. Here are the dates where deliveries will be severely disrupted:

December 9
December 11
December 14
December 15
December 23
December 24

The CWU picket line at Wandsworth delivery office in London today (Picture: Getty)

Some post offices say they have limited space to store parcels due to the industrial action impacting collection.

And don’t forget that old-style stamps without a bar code will also be phased out in the New Year, so if you have stamps to use up by then you’d better get a move on.

Royal Mail workers who are part of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are on strike over jobs, pay and conditions and have already walked out for 12 days.

Those on strike include employees who collect, sort and deliver parcels and letters.

At least 15,000 people were expected to rally outside Parliament in central London today, in what is billed as the biggest postal workers’ demonstration in living memory.

Others headed to picket lines around the country today, despite freezing conditions with unseasonably cold weather.

David Ward, general secretary of the CWU, said Royal Mail want to replace some salaried workers including drivers with self-employed workers on less secure contacts, and that he was part of a ‘just fight’ to keep good conditions at a historic company.

He said that workers were under thread of compulsory redundancies from an ‘aggressive and out of control employer’.

Mr Ward said: ‘Postal workers want to get on with serving the communities they belong to, delivering Christmas gifts and tackling the backlog from recent weeks.

‘But they know their value, and they will not meekly accept the casualisation of their jobs, the destruction of their conditions and the impoverishment of their families.’

But Royal Mail say they have no choice to make changes because they are losing more than £1 million a day.

The company said they will prioritise special delivery and tracked parcels on strike days, as well as Covid test kits and medical prescriptions.

They won’t be delivering letters and cards sent with normal stamps.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: ‘We spent three more days at Acas this week to discuss what needs to happen for the strikes to be lifted.

A poem by urban artist ‘Bod’ supporting the Royal Mail postal worker strikes, pictured on December 1 in Weymouth (Picture: Getty)
A post office in London is seen with a closed sign on November 25 due to strikes (Picture Getty)

‘In the end, all we received was another request for more pay, without the changes needed to fund the pay offer.

‘The CWU know full well that in a business losing more than £1 million a day, we need to agree changes to the way we work so that we can fund the pay offer of up to 9% we have already made.

‘While the CWU refuses to accept the need for change, it’s our customers and our people who suffer. Strike action has already cost our people £1,200 each.

‘The money allocated to the pay deal risks being eaten away by the costs of further strike action.

‘The CWU is striking at our busiest time, deliberately holding Christmas to ransom for our customers, businesses and families across the country.

‘We are doing everything we can to deliver Christmas for our customers and settle this dispute. During the last strike days, we delivered more than 700,000 parcels, and more than 11,000 delivery and processing staff returned to work.

‘We recovered our service quickly, but the task becomes more challenging as Christmas nears.

‘We remain willing to talk at any time about our best and final offer and urge the CWU to call off their damaging strike action.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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