Why is the Royal Mail striking today – and when the next strikes will be

Workers are taking industrial action to demand a ‘worthy and appropriate pay rise’ (Picture: PA)

The first in a series of Royal Mail strikes begins today – with fears the disruption could last until Christmas.

No letters from the Postal Service will be delivered this Friday as 100,000 employees go out.

The likes of eBay have already warned customers to make alternative courier arrangements.

The strike began at 4am this morning and a similar strike is scheduled for next Wednesday.

The staff will go on strike again between September 8 and 9.

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) says its members are taking industrial action for a “dignified and appropriate pay rise”.

The union said management had imposed a 2% pay rise on employees, but they had been classified as key workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Keith Williams, chairman of Royal Mail, says Royal Mail’s business model has been forced to change due to increased competition from rivals such as Amazon and DPD.

Struggling employees are forced to use food banks, according to the union (Picture: PA)

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward speaking to the media today (Picture: PA)

‘Without modernization we die,’ he told the Guardian today.

“We pay 40% more than the market. If we don’t become more efficient, we will have problems.

The strike is expected to cost Royal Mail nearly £100million due to lost parcel and letter revenue.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said the members had “no choice” to leave.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Postal workers strike on the picket line in Whitechapel on August 26, 2022 in London, United Kingdom.  More than 100,000 postal workers have moved across the country today in a wage dispute.  Members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) voted 97.6% in favor of the strike at the polls, in the biggest strike of the summer to date.  (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

Postman Pat joined the picket line (Photo: Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

Strikes could ‘threaten deliveries this Christmas’ (Picture: PA)

He said today: ‘The company made record profits last year: £758m. They gave away more than £400m to shareholders, rewarded themselves with huge record bonuses for hitting their financial targets and then imposed a 2% pay rise on postal workers.

“In the context of rampant inflation, skyrocketing energy bills, this is simply not acceptable.

“Postal workers in the UK are one of the last pillars of our society.

“We will fight to ensure our members get the pay they deserve.”

Royal Mail said it had “well-drafted contingency plans” to minimize disruption, focused on getting mail delivery back to normal as soon as possible after the strike.

The company said on strike days it will deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked24 packages as possible, prioritizing the delivery of Covid test kits and medical prescriptions.

Customers are advised to post items as soon as possible before future strike dates, adding that collections will be less frequent on strike days.

If a solution is not found quickly for striking Royal Mail staff, disruption could “threaten deliveries this Christmas”, reports the Guardian.

Other ‘Summer of Discontent’ strikes so far have included London Underground staff, railway workers, cleaning staff in Edinburgh and lawyers.

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