Fresh Royal Mail strikes after ultimatum rejected

By Alex Stevenson

The latest wave of Royal Mail strikes has begun, despite union leaders claiming they are close to a deal.

Agreement was not reached after a week of talks brokered by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), meaning three days of industrial action organised by the Communication Workers’ Union begins from today.

Over 40,000 postal workers walked out from 04:00 GMT this morning. Mail centres, delivery units in mail centres, network logistics drivers and garage staff are not working today.

The CWU’s deputy general secretary Dave Ward hinted that the Royal Mail’s refusal to agree to a holding proposal, before going to independent arbitration by Acas, was behind the latest strikes.

He said yesterday evening: “At this point of time, we have not had confirmation as to whether our proposal is acceptable and therefore the strikes previously announced for the next few days will take place.

“This series of strikes and future strikes can still be avoided and we remain available for discussions at any time, including tonight. We remain committed to reaching an agreed resolution.”

On Friday 400 people based in Plymouth, Stockport and Stoke will not work, while on Saturday 77,000 delivery and collection staff across the country will walk out.

Royal Mail apologised to customers for the delays caused by the strike in a statement on its website.

“We are really sorry for the significant disruption industrial action by the CWU is having on customers and for the inconvenience these further stoppages will cause,” the firm said.

“We are continuing to urge the CWU to call off all strike action and concentrate with us on supporting customers during the autumn and Christmas peak mail period.”