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CWU rejects Royal Mail pay offer as national strike looms

By Frank Prenesti

Date: Friday 21 Feb 2020

CWU rejects Royal Mail pay offer as national strike looms

(Sharecast News) - A national strike by postal workers looked an increasing possibility after a pay offer from Royal Mail was dismissed by the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Royal Mail said it had tabled a 6% per cent pay rise over the next three years , claiming it claimed added up to an increase of more than 16% between 2018 - 2023, when plans for a shorter working week were included in the package.

However, the offer is conditional on the CWU agreeing to a ?1.8bn plan to bring in automated parcel sorting and changes in working practices. The union is currently balloting for industrial action.

"Our negotiators met Royal Mail today. Minutes after the meeting they released these pre-prepared comm[unication]s everywhere," the CWU said on social media.

"They aren't serious and are playing to an audience. Our focus now must be to deliver the biggest 'Yes' vote possible in the national ballot."

Royal Mail, privatised in 2013 after much resistance from the union, has struggled to compete in the private sector as letter and parcel volumes fall against email and a crowded courier market.

The company forecast UK letter volumes would decline by 75 % between 2004 - 2024 and this month warned that profitability in its letters and parcels division could vanish.

Royal Mail corporate affairs managing director Shane O'Riordain said the company needed to "change more quickly than before".

"Our proposal underlines our commitment to being the best employer in our industry. It maintains our policy of no compulsory redundancies for frontline operational colleagues. We will not become a gig economy employer. We will not introduce zero hours contracts for permanent employees," he said.

"We need to turnaround and grow our UK business. This means the further automation of parcels, including the deployment of three new automated parcel hubs. Most of our parcels are currently hand sorted, just as they were in the Victorian period."

O'Riordan said the plan would also introduce a second van delivery in most parts of the country to capitalise on the growth of "night owl" shopping. "We will do this by introducing around 7,000 dedicated van delivery routes from (around) 300 delivery offices by 2023," he said.

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