A group of Burnham-On-Sea postal workers travelled to London to join a rally outside Parliament in an ongoing protest over pay on Friday (December 9th), as pictured here.
The rally came as thousands of postal workers at Royal Mail went on strike over pay and conditions on Friday — with more strikes to follow in the run-up to Christmas.
A Burnham Royal Mail spokesman told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “A small party of staff travelled to London for the rally — the atmosphere was electric with a feeling of total support from colleagues, public and MPs. “
“It was very clear we are not only trying to save our jobs and terms and conditions, but Royal Mail itself. The public deserve better from Simon Thompson [CEO of Royal Mail].”
Members of the CWU union are expected to continue striking on Sunday as well as on 14, 15, 23 and 24 December.
Although there are no letter deliveries on Sundays, there are parcel deliveries, and Royal Mail also processes mail on a Sunday for delivery on a Monday.
The union has said staff want a pay rise that matches the soaring cost of living and has accused management of trying to “force through thousands of compulsory redundancies.”
Members of the CWU staged a rally outside Parliament in central London.
The union’s general secretary, Dave Ward, said at the rally that the union was preparing a fresh ballot over further strike action in January.
But speaking during a visit to an RAF base in Lincolnshire, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that he was not ruling out extending “tough” new anti-strike laws to prevent walkouts by emergency service workers.
He said the government was “looking at all options” when he was asked about the potential changes to the law to limit the impact of strikes.
The most recent dispute in the postal industry began this summer after Royal Mail rejected demands for a pay rise that matched inflation – the rate at which prices rise – which is currently 11.1%.
Royal Mail has been struggling as it moves from its traditional business of delivering letters, which is no longer profitable, to parcel deliveries.
It wants to cut 10,000 jobs by next August, which will include 6,000 redundancies and thousands of other roles that will not be filled as staff leave.
It also argues that it needs to modernise how the business works to accommodate a rise in parcel deliveries, which would mean changing workers’ hours.
Dave Ward, the CWU general secretary, said: “Royal Mail bosses are risking a Christmas meltdown because of their stubborn refusal to treat their employees with respect.”
“Postal workers want to get on with serving the communities they belong to, delivering Christmas gifts and tackling the backlog from recent weeks.”
“But they know their value, and they will not meekly accept the casualisation of their jobs, the destruction of their conditions and the impoverishment of their families.”
Talks have broken down between the union and Royal Mail, a spokesman said, adding that Royal Mail managers are “refusing to budge with their ‘best and final’ offer”.
That offer includes a 9% pay deal over 18 months and “a number of other concessions to terms and agreements”, Royal Mail said.
A spokesman said: “We spent three more days at [conciliation service] Acas this week to discuss what needs to happen for the strikes to be lifted.”
“In the end, all we received was another request for more pay, without the changes needed to fund the pay offer,” he said, adding that the union “knows full well” that the business is losing more than £1m a day.