Highland Royal Mail Group workers on strike to demand ‘dignified and appropriate pay rise’

Pickets of the Royal Post. Photo: Callum Mackay.

Royal Mail Group staff in the Highlands are among 115,000 workers staging what has been called the biggest strike of the summer for a ‘dignified and appropriate pay rise’.

Members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) – which represents Royal Mail staff – launched what they said were a series of nationwide strikes earlier today.

This is the fourth wave of industrial action – after walkouts by Scotrail, RMT and council staff – to hit the region this summer.

If no agreement is reached, the CWU promises new strikes on Wednesday August 31, Thursday September 8 and Friday September 9.

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Staff are believed to have picketed at nine locations in the area, including at least two in Inverness.

The union claimed there were pickets in Ardgour, Beauly, Dingwall, Drumnadrochit, Fortrose, Invergordon, Tain. Spean Bridge and Fort William

The union is demanding that Royal Mail Group provide adequate pay which covers current increases in the cost of living for our members.

The CWU says management imposed a 2% pay increase on employees, who have been classified as key workers throughout the pandemic, through executive action.

The bosses have “lost the locker room”

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said, “On Friday we will see a tremendous wave of worker unity in villages, towns and cities across the country.

“There is no doubt that postal workers are totally united in their desire to get the fair and dignified salary increase that they deserve.

“We cannot continue to live in a country where the bosses make billions in profits while their employees are forced to use food banks.

“When Royal Mail bosses rake in £758m in profits and shareholders pocket over £400m, our members won’t accept corporate calls for poverty.”

He added: “Royal Mail executives have lost the dressing room – and unless they make an effort to discuss a pay rise which postal workers deserve, serious disruption will continue.”

What the Royal Mail group says

A statement from the Royal Mail Group said: ‘The CWU strike plunges Royal Mail into the most uncertain period in its 500-year history. This puts jobs at risk and makes wage increases less affordable.

He added, “We apologize to our customers and the public for the inconvenience the CWU strike will cause. We have offered to meet with the CWU on numerous occasions in recent weeks, but they have declined each invitation, preferring to devote their time to the political agenda of the UK trade union movement.

“We remain ready to discuss with the CWU to try to avoid damaging industrial action and avoid significant inconvenience to customers. But any discussion should be about both change and compensation.

“We have contingency plans to minimize disruption to customers and we will work to keep people, businesses and the country connected.”

CWU Response

In a furious rebuttal, the union said: ‘Royal Mail Group falsely claims the CWU does not want to meet with them. We have met them dozens of times. It is clear that the negotiators in the room do not have the power to reach an agreement.

“It was on this basis that the CWU convened a summit meeting with the Chairman and Chief Executive of Royal Mail Group and the CWU General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary (Post). Royal Mail refused this meeting.

“Royal Mail says this is because the chairman is not involved in the day-to-day running of the business. This is in direct contradiction to the fact that the chairman is one of the signatories to our most recent national agreement , spoke at the Royal Mail AGM and conducted multiple media interviews.

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