Royal Mail strike: Ayrshire posties form picket lines in UK-wide walkout

Episode 2 of She-Hulk sees Emil Blonsky back behind bars, acting like we’re supposed to know who he is.

Royal Mail staff formed a picket line outside their local delivery offices as 115,000 postal workers around the country walked out as part of a campaign to secure what their union calls a “dignified, proper pay rise”.

Picket lines were formed by Ayrshire CWU members at the delivery offices in Ayr, Cumnock, Dalry, Girvan, Irvine, Kilmarnock, Kilwinning, Largs, Maybole, Prestwick, Saltcoats and Troon.

Friday’s strike by members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will be followed by further walkouts on August 31, September 8 and September 9.

The decision follows the union’s recent ballot for strike action over pay, which saw members vote by 97.6 per cent on a 77 per cent 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 their members.

The CWU says Royal Mail management imposed a two per cent pay rise on employees, who were classified as key workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, through executive action earlier this summer.

The union says that in an economic climate where inflation looks set to soar to 18 per cent by January 2023, the imposition would lead to a dramatic reduction in workers’ living standards.

Dave Ward, general secretary of the CWU, said: “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 pleas 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.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said the strike action “thrusts Royal Mail into the most uncertain time of its 500-year history”.

They added: “It is putting jobs at risk and making pay rises less affordable. We are losing £1 million a day. We must change to fix the situation and protect high-quality jobs.

The change we need is the change the public demand of us. They want more and bigger parcels delivered the next day – including Sundays – and more environmentally friendly options.

“They want this at a competitive price, with great quality of service. We cannot cling to outdated working practices, ignoring technological advancements and pretending that Covid has not significantly changed what the public wants from Royal Mail.

“While our competitors work seven days a week, delivering until 10pm to meet customer demand, the CWU want to work fewer hours, six days a week, starting and finishing earlier.

“Their plans to transform Royal Mail come with a £1 billion price tag, are predicated on a wholly unrealistic revival in letter writing, and prevent Royal Mail from growing, and remaining competitive, in a fast-moving industry.

“The CWU’s vision for Royal Mail would create a vicious spiral of falling volumes, higher prices, bigger losses, and fewer jobs.

“Our future is as a parcels business. We must adapt old ways of working designed for letters to a world increasingly dominated by parcels, and we must act fast.

We want to protect well-paid, permanent jobs long-term and retain our place as the industry leader on pay, terms and conditions. That is in the best interests of Royal Mail and all its employees.

“We apologise to our customers, and the public for the inconvenience the CWU’s strike action will cause. We have offered to meet the CWU numerous times in recent weeks, but they declined each invitation, preferring to spend their time on the political agenda of the UK trade union movement.

We remain ready to talk with the CWU to try and avert damaging industrial action and prevent significant inconvenience for customers. But any talks must be about both change and pay.”

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