Can't Deliver by Christmas: UK's Royal Mail Clashes With CWU Union
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is the main trade union representing people working for telephone, cable, and digital subscriber lines and postal delivery companies in the United Kingdom. It has 110,000 members in Royal Mail, as well as more in many other companies.
Britain's post may grind to a halt this Christmas following industrial action by its workforce during its busiest period.
Record inflation has reportedly forced the CWU trade union to join other unions in demanding wage increases, while the Royal Mail has withheld a reasonable offer. Union members accuse the company of denigrating their dignity and hiring new workers with less pay. The company has stated that the strike could harm non-striking workers and other people.
Dave Ward, CWU's secretary general, told British media that Royal Mail Chief Executive Simon Thompson was using social media to “goad our members”.
"During the pandemic recently, our members were hailed as key workers… Eighteen months later, we're now faced with the most brutal attack on jobs that any group of workers has seen in the UK for decades…They want to turn Royal Mail into just another parcel courier. They want to sack our members whilst at the same time bringing in self-employed drivers… Also new entrants (are being offered) 20% less pay in terms and conditions...”
For its part, Royal Mail claimed that CWU was behaving unethically, with the public firm writing to Ward demanding that he put a stop to a reported growing number of cases of threats, sexism and racism, as well as denouncing “a culture of intimidation on the picket line”. Royal Mail said that it had received more than 100 reports or allegations of “unacceptable behaviour” in four months.
“This behaviour has no place in any civilised workplace. The direct intervention of the CWU’s general secretary is needed to end this culture of intimidation on the picket line, including many incidents by CWU representatives," stated a Royal Mail spokesperson during the release.
The current schedule of CWU strikes is as follows:
The strikes, if carried out on a full scale, could bring serious losses for the company and interrupt postal service throughout England.
British media has estimated that the country “is to be disrupted by strikes every day until Christmas” since many other trade unions voted to start industrial actions. PM Rishi Sunak has ordered Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden to plan the government’s response to the current crisis.