Huge numbers of workers are set to take part in industrial action across the UK over the course of December as the cost of living crisis continues to bite – including nurses, railway workers, firefighters, teachers, civil servants, airport workers, border force staff, bus drivers and ambulance workers.
Postal staff at Royal Mail are also staging walkouts which will inevitably have an impact on Christmas deliveries.
Here’s everything you need to know.
When are the Royal Mail strikes happening?
Subject to discussions between unions and the Royal Mail, national strike actions will take place on Friday, December 23, and Saturday, December 24.
Who is going on strike?
Industrial action is being carried out by Royal Mail staff who are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) who collect, sort and deliver parcels and letters.
What impact will strikes have on deliveries?
A spokesperson for Royal Mail explained the impact of the strikes saying: “Royal Mail has well-developed contingency plans, but we cannot fully replace the daily efforts of our frontline workforce. We’ll be doing what we can to keep services running, but we are sorry this planned strike action is likely to cause you some disruption."
On days when industrial action is taking place, no letters will be delivered to doors and you will not be able to pick up mail from delivery offices.
Royal Mail chiefs have said that they will “deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked 24 parcels as possible” and will “prioritise the delivery of COVID test kits and medical prescriptions wherever possible”.
You will still be able to post items at Post Offices and postboxes, but collections will be less frequest and it’s recommended to post your items as early as possible in advance of the strike dates.
Can I still post Christmas cards and presents?
If you want cards and presents to arrive by Christmas Day, you should post 2nd class items at the latest by today (December 19), while 1st class should be sent no later than December 21.
Special deliveries and tracked guaranteed items should be sent by December 22.
Why are postal workers striking?
Workers are striking due to talks on pay increases stalling – as well as changes to their terms and conditions.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “We are disappointed that instead of reaching a compromise to avoid major disruption, Royal Mail have chosen to pursue such an aggressive strategy. These proposals spell the end of Royal Mail as we know it and its degradation from a national institution into an unreliable, Uber-style gig economy company. Make no mistake about it, British postal workers are facing an Armageddon moment. We urge every member of the public to stand with their postie, and back them like never before.”
Royal Mail chiefs are insisting that their offer on pay will not be improved upon, saying: “Royal Mail has shared a best and final offer for pay and change. The revised offer includes extensive improvements that have been made during the negotiations with the CWU, including an enhanced pay deal of 9 per cent over 18 months and a number of other concessions to terms and agreements. The offer is subject to agreeing a programme of change with the CWU. We’re urging CWU leadership to accept the change and pay offer, call off future damaging strike action, for the good of our customers and our people. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU's continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimise delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”