Royal Mail managers' union Unite announces July strike action over cuts to 700 jobs and pay
Royal Mail managers across the UK are set to take industrial action in a dispute over further threats to jobs and pay.
The industrial action could cause widespread disruption to postal services.
Unite, the managers’ trade union, said 2,400 managers will work to rule from July 15 to 19, followed by strike action from July 20 to 22, over what has now been confirmed by Royal Mail as a plan to cut 700 jobs and slash pay by up to £7,000.
Last year, Royal Mail paid out £400m to shareholders and recorded a £311m profit.
The union said its members had no other option but to take strike action after months of consultation failed to persuade Royal Mail off a path which Unite claims is a ruinous and needless course given that the business is awash with cash.
The union is calling on Royal Mail to recognise that it has to restore jobs because the proposed cuts are so savage they will destroy the service.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This business is awash with cash but it is putting profits and dividends for the few at the top ahead of its duties as a public service.
“There is not a single aspect of these cuts which is about improving customer service. They are being driven entirely by a culture of greed and profiteering which has seized a 500-year-old essential service, driving it close to ruin.
“Our members are determined to force the business to take a different path, and they have the full backing of Unite.”
Last month, Unite said Royal Mail was running on empty, depending on thousands of unpaid hours provided by managers to hold the service together.
Industrial action by the managers, who voted by 86% to strike, will impact the postal and parcel service immediately across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
According to Unite, during the work to rule and strike action:
- Deliveries will not be covered
- Managers will take their breaks and start and finish on time
- Managers will be taking their rest days, leaving units with no manager on site
- Weekend volunteer operation won't be covered
- Units will have no person in control responsible for safety of the staff and buildings
- Goodwill to work extra unpaid hours will cease
- Some key services, like next day delivery and tracked items, will be delayed
- Postal staff may refuse to cross picket lines or work in unmanaged buildings
Mike Eatwell, Unite national officer with responsibility for Royal Mail, added: “Our members have been forced to the position of taking industrial action because those running Royal Mail refuse to see sense.
“We have taken another, detailed look at Royal Mail’s proposals and it is worse than we first thought. The business is seeking to cut 700 posts on top of the 1,200 cut last year. It is already running on fumes, depending on Unite members’ dedication and professionalism to hold the service together.
“For those managers who remain, they face cuts to their salaries of up to £7,000. People who gave their working lives to this business will lose their homes. It's no wonder then that our members are angry and ready to take strike action.
“Royal Mail knows what to do if it wants to avoid these strikes: step back from these cuts and make a serious offer to Unite’s members that will restore jobs and preserve pay. Royal Mail can easily afford to do what is right.”
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Unite/CMA has notified us of planned industrial action. There are no grounds for industrial action. The extended consultation on our recent restructure concluded earlier this year, and the restructuring is complete.
“We committed to protecting pay for all managers who stay with Royal Mail, and the vast majority have seen an increase in their earnings. We allowed managers to request voluntary redundancy with a package of up to two years' salary, which was over-subscribed. We also made several concessions during the process, which Unite declined.
“We have contingency plans in place to minimise disruption for customers in the event of industrial action and we will work to keep people, businesses and the country connected.”