Up to 2,400 Royal Mail managers will go on strike later this month in row over plans to cut 700 jobs and slash pay by £7,000 as union condemns ‘culture of greed’
- Unite unions says managers will work to rule over five days from July 15 to July 19
- Staff will then strike over the following three days from July 20 to July 22
- Unite blames ‘boardroom greed’ at Royal Mail, who it says want to cut 700 jobs
- Key services such as next day delivery and tracked items are likely to be delayed
Thousands of Royal Mail managers will go on strike later this month in a dispute over plans to cut 700 jobs and slash pay by £7,000 – as the Unite union slams a ‘culture of greed’.
The union has said 2,400 managers will work to rule over five days from July 15 to July 19, before strike action over the following three days from July 20 to July 22.
Staff at the postal service decided to back walkouts by 86 per cent in England, Scotland and Wales and 89 per cent in Northern Ireland last week.
General secretary Sharon Graham today 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.’
Key services such as next day delivery and tracked items are likely to be delayed during the strike action.
General secretary Sharon Graham accuses Royal Mail of ‘being driven entirely by a culture of greed and profiteering’
Staff at the postal service service decided to back walkouts by 86 per cent in England, Scotland and Wales and 89 per cent in Northern Ireland last week
Royal Mail has said it has ‘contingency plans in place’ to ensure disruption is minimised during the strikes
Deliveries and volunteer operations will also not be covered, while managers will halt working extra unpaid hours.
It claims Royal Mail paid out £400 million to shareholders last year and recorded £311m in profit.
A statement added: ‘The union says that its members have no other option but to take strike action 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.’
Following the announcement that members of the union had voted in favour of strike action last week, Royal Mail said it had ‘contingency plans in place’ to ensure disruption is minimised.
A spokesperson added: ‘We are disappointed that Unite 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.’
But Unite national officer with responsibility for Royal Mail, Mike Eatwell, accused the service of ‘refusing to see sense’.
He added: ‘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 1200 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 £7000. People who gave their working lives to this business will lose their homes. It is no wonder then that our members are angry and ready to take strike action.’
It comes amid a summer of discontent that has already seen the UK brought to a standstill by crippling rail strikes.
Last month 50,000 railway workers went on strike as the RMT union led the largest industrial action seen in the sector for decades.
And Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, has not ruled out further strikes after crippling the network over the course of a week during his union’s dispute with Network Rail and train operators over pay and conditions.
The three separate days of strikes causes travel misery, with hundreds of train services cancelled and many rail operators left running reduced services.
Mr Lynch, who earns an annual salary of £124,000, described the rail industry dispute as the ‘fight of our lifetime’ as strikes look set to worsen.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, has not ruled out further strikes after crippling the network over the course of a week
He said negotiations over pay, jobs and conditions were the ‘toughest’ the union had ever been involved in.
It comes as Mike Whelan, head of the train drivers’ union Aslef, also threatened commuters with ‘massive’ disruption in the coming months after his members voted on their first national strike since 1995.
And further strikes could be on the way after British Airways check-in staff voted to walkout of their jobs later this month as they feud with the company over their pay and conditions.
On Sunday, the National Education Union (NEU), which represents teachers, also rejected a nine per cent pay rise offer by the Government.
Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi made the offer in a desperate attempt to stop potential strike action this autumn.
The Tory minister appears to have backed away from his position last week that striking would be ‘unforgivable’ by begging Chancellor Rishi Sunak to bankroll a wage hike for 130,000 junior teachers in England.
But Mary Bousted, general secretary of the NEU, said it was still a pay cut when factoring inflation into account.
Barristers also broke down in tears yesterday as they went back on strike in a row over pay and conditions, having turned down a 15 per cent fee increase.
Thousands of lawyers took to picket lines across England and Wales again at the start of a three-day walkout, having also taken action last week.
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