Royal Mail says it has handed a “best and last” offer to the union representing its frontline workers, in a bid to avert a 48-hour strike which begins on Thursday and covers the Black Friday shopping spree.
The company, which claimed earlier this month that a series of back-to-back pay and modernization walkouts had cost it £100million, said a number of ‘significant improvements’ were on the way. table to resolve the dispute with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
The central offer was a wage agreement of up to 9% over 18 months.
royal mail said its measures also included a new profit-sharing scheme for employees and more generous voluntary departure conditions.
The CWU responded quickly with a tweet.
“We met Royal Mail Group today. CEO Simon Thompson didn’t even attend the meeting. Strikes tomorrow and Friday are taking place.”
He then issued a statement saying that the terms of the business would turn Royal Mail into an “economy-style parcel courier, dependent on casual labour”.
Loss-making Royal Mail argued that it must move with the times to survive.
He has sought to be excused for his demand for Saturday letter deliveries and wants to be able to deliver more cost-effective parcels seven days a week – on Sundays, for the first time, according to his plans.
Royal Mail said last month it would consult on 6,000 redundancies but promised on Wednesday there would be no job losses until the end of March next year as part of its bid to the CWU .
Its parent company IDS has threatened to split Royal Mail from the wider group unless it can return to profitability, which Royal Mail says is impossible with costly industrial action.
The union took a vote of no confidence in Mr Thompson among its 115,000 Royal Mail members earlier this week.
He said of the deal currently on the table: “The talks lasted seven months and we made numerous improvements and two salary offers, which would now result in a salary increase of up to 9% over 18 months, plus a host of other improvements.This is our best and final offering.
“Negotiations involve give and take, but it seems the CWU’s approach is to simply take. We want to reach an agreement, but time is running out for the CWU to change its position and avoid further damaging strikes tomorrow.
“Strikes have already added £100million to Royal Mail’s losses so far this year. In a hugely loss-making business, with each additional day of strikes we are faced with the difficult choice of whether we spend our money on pay and protect jobs. , or on the cost of strikes.”
CWU General Secretary Dave Ward replied: “We are disappointed that instead of reaching a compromise to avoid major disruption, Royal Mail has chosen to pursue such an aggressive strategy.
“We will not accept that 115,000 Royal Mail workers – the people who have kept us connected during the pandemic and made millions in profits for bosses and shareholders – deal such a devastating blow to their livelihoods.
“These proposals spell the end of Royal Mail as we know it, and its downgrading from a national institution into an unreliable Uber-style gig-saving business.
“Make no mistake: Britain’s postal workers are facing a moment of Armageddon.
“We urge every member of the public to stand with their postman and support him like never before.”