A second strike was held by Burnham-On-Sea Royal Mail postal workers yesterday (Wednesday, August 31st) during the latest action in an ongoing dispute over pay.
More than 20 members of staff joined a picket line outside the sorting office in Burnham’s Dunstan Road on Wednesday, as pictured here.
It was the second of four days of industrial action, with further walk-outs planned in Burnham next week on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th September.
One local postman told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We’re grateful to have received lots of positive local feedback and thank residents for their understanding and support.”
Royal Mail apologised to customers and said it had contingency plans in place to minimise the disruption. In Burnham, six managers delivered ‘priority’ mail items locally on Wednesday – just as they did during last Friday’s first post strike in Burnham-On-Sea.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents the strikers, says they are striking after rejecting a pay rise of 2%, and called on Royal Mail to offer an increase that “covers the current cost of living”.
The median pay at Royal Mail is £32,465 a year, with the average pay for a postal delivery worker lower than that at £25,777. The Royal Mail said their pay offer had included further pay-rises on condition that workers agree to modernising reforms, and that the strikes could damage the firm.
Inflation, the rate at which prices rise, is at a 40-year high of 10.1% and expected to surpass 13% later this year.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward says: “We are going to fight very hard here to get the pay rise our members deserve. There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve.”
He added: “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 £758m in profit and shareholders pocketing in excess of £400m, our members won’t accept pleads of poverty from the company.”
Royal Mail’s latest adjusted operating profit for the year to March is £416m, up from £344m previously.
But Royal Mail’s chief executive Simon Thompson told the BBC that despite an increase in business during the pandemic, the company is now losing £1m a day.
“Our reality is that the Covid bubble has burst, and we can see the economic situation around us all,” he said.
The businesses needed to pivot from a focus on delivering letters into a business focused on the parcels market, he said.
Royal Mail said it has offered workers a 5.5% pay deal, comprising 2%, paid in June and backdated to April 2022, with a further 1.5% to be paid from the date upon which reforms are implemented. Royal Mail said it wanted to discuss varying working hours and days with the union. A further 2% of salary would be available in a productivity bonus, the firm said.
But the CWU claims the additional 1.5% was “strictly conditional on postal workers agreeing changes which would rip up their terms and conditions”.
Pictured: Top, this week’s second protest by postal workers and, above, the first strike in Burnham