Thousands of Royal Mail staff to go ahead with Black Friday strikes, plunging Brits into shopping chaos

23 November 2022, 18:56 | Updated: 24 November 2022, 01:40

Strikes are set to go ahead
Strikes are set to go ahead. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Thousands of Royal Mail staff are set to go ahead with Black Friday strikes after rejecting the "best and final" pay offer, meaning millions of shoppers across the UK will be left in chaos.

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Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) turned down the offer of a pay deal of up to 9% over 18 months, confirming that walkouts would instead go ahead across Thursday and Friday.

The move will cause problems for many on two of the biggest online shopping days of the year.

The CWU said in a tweet: "We have today met with Royal Mail Group. CEO Simon Thompson did not even attend the meeting.

"The strikes tomorrow and Friday go ahead."

A statement later read that the company's terms would turn Royal Mail into a "gig economy-style parcel courier, reliant on casual labour".

But Royal Mail has argued that it must progress with the times to survive.

Read more: I'm not Mick Grinch: Union boss insists strikes won't ruin Christmas and calls for more talks to avert walkouts

Read more: Royal Mail workers to strike on Christmas Eve and throughout December as present deliveries thrown into chaos

Thousands of Royal Mail workers will strike
Thousands of Royal Mail workers will strike. Picture: Alamy
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have held a series of strikes in recent weeks
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have held a series of strikes in recent weeks. Picture: Alamy

Simon Thompson, Royal Mail's chief executive said: "Talks have lasted for seven months and we have made numerous improvements and two pay offers, which would now see up to a 9% pay increase over 18 months alongside a host of other enhancements. This is our best and final offer.

"Negotiations involve give and take, but it appears that the CWU's approach is to just take. We want to reach a deal, but time is running out for the CWU to change their position and avoid further damaging strike action tomorrow.

"The strikes have already added £100 million to Royal Mail's losses so far this year. In a materially loss making company, with every additional day of strike action we are facing the difficult choice of about whether we spend our money on pay and protecting jobs, or on the cost of strikes."

CWU general secretary Dave Ward
CWU general secretary Dave Ward. Picture: Alamy

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: "We are disappointed that instead of reaching a compromise to avoid major disruption, Royal Mail have chosen to pursue such an aggressive strategy.

"We will not accept that 115,000 Royal Mail workers - the people who kept us connected during the pandemic, and made millions in profit for bosses and shareholders - take such a devastating blow to their livelihoods.

"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.

"Make no mistake about it: British postal workers are facing an Armageddon moment.

"We urge every member of the public to stand with their postie, and back them like never before."

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