UK postal workers call off strikes

UK postal workers call off strikes

The dispute saw over 115,000 workers take 18 days of strike action in the final quarter of 2022
The dispute saw over 115,000 workers take 18 days of strike action in the final quarter of 2022. Photo: OLI SCARFF / AFP
Source: AFP

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Postal workers at the UK's Royal Mail on Tuesday accepted a new pay deal to end a costly series of strikes.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) held a ballot, with 76 percent voting to end the dispute, which saw over 115,000 workers take 18 days of strike action in the final quarter of 2022.

"This has been the most challenging period in both the history of the union and the company, and I want to thank every single member that has voted in this ballot," said CWU General Secretary Dave Ward.

"Far from being an endorsement of the actions of Royal Mail Group, this result will be the start of the union reconnecting in every workplace.

"If the new CEO is someone that wants to take the workforce with them then this company can have a bright future. If the same old mantras continue then Royal Mail Group as we know will be finished forever."

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International Distributions Services, parent company of Royal Mail, said in May it had sunk into an annual loss following mass strike action as wages failed to keep up with soaring inflation.

IDS reported a loss after tax of £873 million ($1.1 billion) in the 12 months to the end of March against a net profit of £612 million in 2021/22.

"Quality of service has been significantly affected by industrial action and high levels of absence," said Keith Williams, independent non-executive chair at IDS.

The results update came after Royal Mail confirmed the chief executive's departure.

Simon Thompson will leave at the end of October, following criticism by UK lawmakers of performance at the former state monopoly.

Thompson last year announced a cut in 10,000 Royal Mail roles, or about seven percent of the workforce, blaming the move partly on the strikes.

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Set up more than 500 years ago, Royal Mail has experienced some of its most turbulent times during the past decade, particularly following its controversial privatisation in 2013.

The firm's core letters business has been ravaged as consumers increasingly go online to communicate.

However, it enjoyed booming demand for parcel deliveries during Britain's Covid lockdowns -- and played a vital role delivering test kits and protective clothing in the pandemic.

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Source: AFP

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