Royal Mail workers set to strike

Royal Mail staff threaten to strike over pay and jobs dispute

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has announced that its members working for Royal Mail have voted in favour of taking industrial action in their dispute over pensions, pay and jobs.

With the threat of further strikes over the festive period a possibility, CWU bosses were last night accused of threatening to "cancel Christmas".

CWU officials will meet later this week to determine the next steps and any potential strike dates but it has been suggested workers will walk out on so-called "Black Friday" in late November - when Christmas shopping begins and many retailers offer large discounts.

Royal Mail workers voted for the strike after opposing a move to "unilaterally" replace its pension scheme.

As the holiday retail rush fast approaches, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) which represents 110,000 postal staff have voted by a almost 90 per cent majority to strike.

Earlier this year, the United Kingdom postal operator announced it would be closing Royal Mail Pension Plan, its current defined benefit (DB) scheme, to future accruals from next year. The business had enjoyed stable relations with the CWU since then but workers have become increasingly angry over what they describe as an "attack" on pension rights, as well as being locked in dispute over pay and the closure of delivery offices. "The union can not take industrial action until these dispute resolution procedures have been completed".

"This ballot result is hugely significant and demonstrates a strength of feeling that can only be translated as a massive vote of no confidence in the managerial leadership of the Royal Mail Group and the direction that they advocate", the union's deputy general secretary (postal) Terry Pullinger said in the statement.

"The managerial leadership has failed and should resign or be sacked". They escalate to independent external mediation, which we expect will take close to Christmas to be completed, and may be longer.

"If industrial action goes into the seasonal period it will have a huge impact".

"This is a dispute about honour and we refuse to simply stand aside".

Workers have voted to take national industrial action if an agreement is not reached on pensions, pay, and drastic changes to how mail is delivered in the UK. "Both offer generous pension contributions in comparison to most employers", he said.

The company said it remained committed to finding a deal on pensions and pay, with offers still on the table including wage increases of 5% - linked to productivity improvements.

"Under its proposals, Royal Mail would continue to provide the best pay and terms and conditions in the industry".

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