Burnham-On-Sea post staff joined a new series of 10 days of nationwide strikes from Thursday in the run-up to Christmas after talks between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) ended without agreement.
Deliveries in the Burnham-On-Sea area will be disrupted by 10 more strike days at the busiest time of the year for the postal service.
Members of the CWU rejected Royal Mail’s “final and best” offer on Wednesday. Royal Mail accused the union of “holding Christmas to ransom,” but the CWU says the current offer would “spell the end of Royal Mail as we know it.”
Fresh strikes took place on Thursday and are scheduled today (Black Friday) with further stoppages due on 30th November and 1st December and on six days in December, including Christmas Eve.
A Burnham-On-Sea Royal Mail staff member confirmed to Burnham-On-Sea.com that a picket line has been in place this week, as pictured here. They plan to join the next strikes and thanked local residents for their support.
The CWU called the company’s latest offer “wholly inadequate” that it said equated to a “non-backdated 3.5 per cent pay increase”.
“These proposals spell the end of Royal Mail as we know it, and its degradation from a national institution into an unreliable, Uber-style gig economy company,” CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said in a statement.
“Make no mistake about it: British postal workers are facing an Armageddon moment.”
The long-running dispute revolves around pay, jobs and conditions.
Royal Mail said in a statement that it had offered staff a 9% pay rise over 18 months, was committing to make Sunday working voluntary, and would make no compulsory redundancies before March next year.
“We want to reach a deal, but time is running out for the CWU to change their position and avoid further damaging strike action,” Royal Mail’s chief executive, Simon Thompson, said.
Royal Mail said strikes had already cost the firm more than £100m and that the pay offer may need to be withdrawn if there is “further deterioration in the company’s financial position caused by industrial action.”
“In a materially loss-making company, with every additional day of strike action we are facing the difficult choice of whether we spend our money on pay and protecting jobs, or on the cost of strikes,” Mr Thompson said.
The CWU represents 115,000 workers at Royal Mail. Last month they rejected a 7% pay offer over two years.