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Workers rally on latest Royal Mail strike date

Postal workers were massing in central London this afternoon after talks to resolve the long-running strike action at Royal Mail broke down again.

The CWU organised a rally at 1pm in Parliament Square, with Royal Mail workers travelling from across the UK to attend. 

Around 100,000 workers across the Royal Mail network are striking again today (9 December), after the latest talks aiming to resolve the dispute over pay and terms and conditions broke down last night. 

Speaking to BBC News, CWU general secretary Dave Ward said Royal Mail was “being destroyed in front of our eyes in the name of modernisation”.

Zoe Deadman, managing director at KCS Trade Print in Launceston, appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake up to Money show this morning.

Asked about the impact of strike action at Royal Mail, she said: “For us it’s the knock-on effect of it because what we’re finding is people are using other couriers instead, and now they are in absolute meltdown. 

“All the rest are having extra burden put upon them because of these postal strikes, and as a business that uses just-in-time deliveries that has had a big impact on us. It makes the whole supply chain just that bit more difficult at an already busy time.”

Deadman said it was “a super-busy time for us and absolutely our peak as we do a lot of printing for e-commerce customers”.

“We constantly have phone calls at this time of year saying ‘please can we have it before Christmas?’… and can we have more and can we have it faster. So we’re very much in the thrust of all that at the moment.”

In a statement on the latest state of affairs, 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. 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 £1m 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.”

The statement continued: “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.”

Royal Mail said that during the last strike days it 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.”

Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson has also written an open letter to customers where he states: “This is not the gig economy,” regarding proposed changes, and also asserts there will not be compulsory redundancies.

In response, the CWU refuted a number of Thompson’s claims via a Twitter thread

The remaining strike dates for December are: Sunday 11 December, Wednesday 14 December, Thursday 15 December, Friday 23 December and Saturday 24 December.

Royal Mail has brought forward its latest posting dates for Christmas, as a result of the industrial action.

On Twitter, Parliament Square and Royal Mail were trending as the rally got underway, with the area awash with CWU pink banners and placards, and attendees chanting “we want Thompson out”. 

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