Royal Mail strike called off after legal action threat but dispute continues

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has called off a six-day strike after Royal Mail threatened legal action.

The union’s decision to call off the strike came on Monday, after several weeks of protesting over what the union calls an unacceptable pay rise offer from Royal Mail.

Workers had been offered a two per cent raise in pay, an increase which members did not believe reflected the current rise in inflation, which is around 10 per cent.

The union has 200,000 members, many of who were involved in the protests against the offer before further action was called off this week.

CWU members on strike. Pic: brightondj 

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “We recognise the deep frustration felt by many members over this decision. But the fact remains that the current direction of Royal Mail doesn’t benefit the company, the community or the country.” 

There was a mail strike last week in Hackney’s East Bank.

Matt Woods, a CWU representative at Stoke Newington who attended the strike said: “We’re out today on strike to protect our terms and conditions that are under attack from the Royal Mail.”

On being asked if the CWU were going to win, he responded: “I think we are. I think the resolve is pretty strong, nobody is going in [to work] and the company are going to have to do a deal sooner or later.”

Sasha Simic, a local resident and lifelong trade-unionist, visited the Hackney picket to show solidarity with the strikers.

He said: “For too long workers have been on the receiving end of a class war by the bosses and government. As profits rocket our wages have been continually squeezed.

“Workers paid for the banking crisis in 2008 with a decade of austerity which saw public services cut to the bone. It is estimated that Tory austerity put 130,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable into premature graves,” said Simic.

Sasha Simic (far left) and Matt Woods (centre) on the East Bank N16 CWU picket. Pic: Sasha Simic 

Simic is also representative at USDAW, another trade union, and expressed his sympathy with the strikers’ position.

He said: “Of course workers are right to fight for above-inflation wages and for decent terms and conditions. Inflation is at over 12%. Energy inflation is at 58%. People are having to choose between heating or eating and many can’t do either. Meanwhile the bosses are rolling in money.”

The CWU have since pushed back on the Royal Mail’s threat of legal action and are planning to resume strikes on Saturday 12 November and will continue into late November and early December.

Royal Mail have issued a statement saying that it has not been formally notified by the CWU of the new planned dates.

It also issues a statement about strike disruption on its website: “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.”

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