Plans are being made for more postal strikes, potentially in the lead up to Christmas, after the Royal Mail announced thousands of job cuts. The company announced on Friday (October 14) it would consult on up to 6,000 redundancies, a move it blames on financial losses caused by the “impact of industrial action, delays in delivering agreed productivity improvements and lower parcel volumes”.
Andy Furey from the Communication Workers Union hit back at the comments, accusing the Royal Mail of “essentially bullying” workers. The union boss also warned that strikes in the run up to Christmas, which would inflict chaos within festive postal delivery plans, could now take place.
Appearing on GB News, the union boss said: “‘Clearly, this is a cynical, calculated and contrived position by Royal Mail. It’s designed to threaten our members, essentially it’s bullying. Our members are exceptionally angry about it and it hasn’t had the desired effect that Royal Mail was looking for.
“I think they were looking to frighten our members not to take strike action again in the future. It’s actually incensed them and the feedback we’re getting is that it’s actually galvanised them to be more determined than ever before.”
Royal Mail’s CEO, Simon Thompson, claims the company has lost £290m in the first half of the year with each strike day weakening the company’s financial situation.
But Mr Furey added: “My message to Simon Thompson is that we need to negotiate an agreement. We met with Simon yesterday. We’re due to meet with him again on Monday afternoon. The CWU is committed to reaching an agreement. We believe that change can be achieved by negotiation.
“But the reality is, Royal Mail declared record profits only in May this year, and in January paid out £400 million to shareholders, and Simon Thompson’s awarded himself many millions in bonuses and such, like shares. This is a successful company. It has some problems, but these problems we can address through negotiation.”
Mr Furey stated that the CWU’s aim was to reach an agreement ‘first and foremost’ but failing this, the programme of strikes the union announced throughout October and November will continue. Around 15 strikes are due to take place.
“We will consider further action in the lead-up to Christmas as well. My message to Royal Mail is to come to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement,” Mr Furey went on. “The public thinks that the Postal Service is magnificent. Our vendors, as key workers, delivered throughout the whole of the pandemic and kept the country connected, and we delivered six days a week to 32 million addresses.
“Royal Mail has a unique offer, and it needs to be leveraging that unique offer and develop new products and services and new growth. The CWU has a vision and agenda to build Royal Mail.”