Royal Mail managers across the UK are set to strike later this month in a dispute over jobs and pay cuts.
Unite, the managers’ trade union, says that 2,400 managers will work to rule on 15-19 July, followed by strike action on July 20 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 £400 million to shareholders and recorded a £311 million profit.
Although Royal Mail say that there were “no grounds” for a strike, the union says its members have no other option as months of consultation have failed to persuade Royal Mail off a path which Unite says is a ‘ruinous’ and needless course given that the business is ‘awash with cash’.
Unite 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.
“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,” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.
“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 revealed that the Royal Mail was running on empty, depending on thousands of unpaid hours provided by managers to hold the service together. The removal of hundreds more posts would make the six-day service that the company is obliged to run by the regulator, Ofcom, impossible to sustain.
Industrial action by the managers, who voted by 86 per cent 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 manger on site
- Weekends volunteer operation won’t be covered
- Units will have no person in control responsible for safety of the staff and buildings
- Good will 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
Royal Mail have said that contingency plans have been put in place to minimise disruption.
“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,” revealed a spokesman.
“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.”
It added it was “committed to protecting pay for all managers who stay with Royal Mail, and the vast majority have seen an increase in their earnings”.