Royal Mail workers are striking this month in an escalating row over pay, jobs, and conditions.
The Communications Workers Union (CWU), the main UK trade union for people working for telephone, cable, digital subscriber lines, and postal delivery companies, confirmed six strike dates in December on November 17. These follow several strikes in November.
The postal service apologised to customers, saying that though it had “well-developed contingency plans”, it was unable to “fully replace the daily efforts of our frontline workforce”.
Royal Mail Strike: Parliament Square London
“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,” Royal Mail added on its website.
So when and why are the Royal Mail workers striking?
When will Royal Mail workers strike and will it affect Christmas?
Royal Mail workers will be striking on the run-up to Christmas, including Christmas Eve:
Friday, December 23
Saturday, December 24
On strike days, Royal Mail has said that disruptions are likely and staff will not be delivering letters, with the exception of those sent with Special Delivery. However, it cannot guarantee they will arrive.
Royal Mail has urged customers to send items as early as possible before strike dates to avoid disruption.
When are the last Christmas 2022 posting dates?
Royal Mail has brought forward the last posting deadlines for Christmas due to the strikes.
The final date for second-class deliveries was Monday, December 12 — six days earlier than it was in 2021. For first-class post, the final date was Friday, December 16.
However, you can pay extra and post this week, if you have any last-minute items:
Monday December 19 Royal Mail Tracked 24
Wednesday December 21 Special Delivery Guaranteed
It is worth reading our guide on how to keep track of Christmas deliveries to avoid any disappointments.
Why are Royal Mail workers striking?
They are striking over the Royal Mail Group’s alleged decision to withdraw from major national agreements and cut workers’ terms and conditions.
The CWU says that employees who received a Real Living Wage (RLW) adjustment in April wouldn’t receive an annual pay rise, with the majority of cleaners affected by the decision.
Mark Baulch, the assistant secretary of the CWU, explained: “They made a formal commitment back in March, in writing and fully documented, and which is jointly signed, that the RLW uplift would be applied outside of the formal pay talks and ‘without prejudice’ to the 2022/23 annual pay negotiations.
“And yet, just a few months later, that management promise was wilfully broken — it was an absolute disgrace.”
The CWU said that, although a minority of cleaners were offered a 50p-an-hour pay increase, 90 per cent of cleaners didn’t receive an annual pay rise.
The union is also seeking the same rights as other Royal Mail Group employees on issues such as pensions, leave entitlement, holiday pay, and parental leave.
What has Royal Mail said about the strikes?
A Royal Mail representative said: “On September 22, Royal Mail invited CWU to enter into talks through [The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service] Acas to find a resolution to our dispute on change and pay. Rather than responding to our offer of Acas talks, the CWU announced further damaging industrial action, once again taking the path of prolonging disruption over resolution.
“Royal Mail is losing £1 million a day and must change faster in response to changing customer demands. We operate in a competitive market, and our customers have choices.”
The representative said “further strikes and resistance to transformation by CWU will only make our financial position worse, and threatens the long-term job security of our postmen and women”.
He added: “The CWU has a responsibility to recognise the reality of the situation Royal Mail faces as a business and engage urgently on the changes required. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause.
“We are doing all we can to minimise any delays and keep people, businesses, and the country connected.”