Postal workers in Wales are among more than 115,000 postal workers raking strike action over pay from 6am today, which will be followed by further strike action on Wednesday 31st August, Thursday 8th September and Friday 9th September.
Reporter Lisa Baker joined Bridgend workers to hear their stories first hand, and the mood of picketeers is very much of keyworkers who maintained service throughout the pandemic and now feel unappreciated and undervalued by their employer, Royal Mail.
A striking picketeer told our reporter:
“The Royal Mail has made £750 million profit, yet has imposed a 2% pay rise on us, despite the cost of living crisis.
“They also want to bring in unacceptable changes to our hours and working practices, with worse conditions for new starters, changes to our holiday and sick pay, and the new changes will make doing this job unbearable for workers while the company continues to make millions.”
Another picketeer explained:
“These changes will impact on workers in many ways, but those with children will be particularly impacted because the change in hours will make it harder for people to collect their children from school. It’s wrong when the company is making so much money.”
A spokesman for the CWU explained:
“This decision follows the union’s recent ballot for strike action over pay, which saw members vote by 97.6% on a 77% turnout to take action.
“The union is demanding that Royal Mail Group make an adequate pay award that covers the current cost of living increases for our members.
“Management imposed a 2% pay rise on employees, who were classified as key workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, through executive action earlier this summer.
“In an economic climate where inflation looks set to soar to 18% by January 2023, the imposition would lead to a dramatic reduction in workers’ living standards.”
CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: “On Friday, we will see a tremendous outpouring of workers’ unity in villages, towns and cities across the country.
“There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve.
“We can’t keep on living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks.
“When Royal Mail bosses are raking in £758 million in profit and shareholders pocketing in excess of £400 million, our members won’t accept pleads of poverty from the company.
“Postal workers won’t meekly accept their living standards being hammered by greedy business leaders who are completely out of touch with modern Britain.
“They are sick of corporate failure getting rewarded again and again.
“Royal Mail’s leadership have lost the dressing room – and unless they make efforts to get real on discussing a pay rise that postal workers deserve, serious disruption will continue.”
CWU Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger said: “Our members worked miracles during the pandemic and know full well what they are worth.
“They are fighting for a no strings, real-terms pay rise – something they are fully entitled to.
“Those managing Royal Mail Group are treating our members with contempt by imposing such a minimal amount.
“Royal Mail Group have failed to recognise the strength of feeling and have clearly lost the dressing room on pay, so they have left us with no choice but to fight.
“Our members deserve a pay rise that rewards their fantastic achievements in keeping the country connected during the pandemic, but also helps them keep up during this current economic crisis.
“We won’t be backing down until we get just that.”