How a Royal Mail strike almost stopped Christmas

The Royal Mail first came to light in 1516. The service was designed so that messages could be sent and received around the UK. A the time, this was the only method to spread the word. Many years down the line it’s now used to deliver letters and parcels all over the world. It also helps assort postal votes for elections and deliver Christmas letters to Santa. 

When it was introduced by the government, it was planned to be run by the government and the state. However, in 2011 a 70% share of the service was put on the London Stock Exchange. This fell under the Postal Services Act of 2011 and then the rest was sold in 2015. This put an end to the 499-year government ownership of this service. Following its privatisation, it has shown that the company now focuses on its profits instead of the workers and service.

Why were they wanting to strike? 

The Postal Service has been known to threaten strike action for many years after the privatisation of the service was ever in talks. Following 2013 the workers of the company have used this tactic to prove to the owners that they have a voice and are willing to use it. There have been multiple reasons why they have gone on strike in the past. This includes disputes over their pay to trying to prevent the privatisation of Royal Mail.

 The strike which is planned for just before Christmas has been over the trust in a major agreement. The agreement was designed to give workers job security and employment rights. This comes after workers at a Royal Mail subsidiary, eCourier, company employees were counted as self-employed contractors. This meant they didn’t have a standard minimum wage, sick pay and weren’t even enrolled in a pension scheme.

Relations at breaking point

Over the 2019 period relations between the company and its workers has worsened. It has reached the point where strikes have been a frequent occurrence across the UK. Although these strikes were not a part of the official union, they have displayed their thoughts on their levels of trust in the corporation.

These claims have now been confirmed by the CWUnion. They claim the agreement isn’t being upheld and that 50,000 jobs are at risk. This is coupled with the threat that the service parcel force may be sold as a separate entity. 

What happened to the strike?

A strike by the Royal Mail workforce was meant to take place early December. This started so that they would be taken seriously before Christmas, one of the busiest periods for the company. However, due to the ongoing Brexit debate, there has now been even further strain put onto Royal Mail as a general election has been called by parliament. Therefore, as well as all Christmas letters and packages being sent across the UK, Royal Mail will also be liable for all postal votes in this election.

Although there was a threat of a postal strike, the CWU admits that this doesn’t necessarily mean that action would be taken. With these threats, the CWU was hoping to open talks on how issues within the workforce were to be corrected. This also ensured jobs were to be secured. Despite a 97% vote towards a strike before the general election was announced the Royal Mail has been able to secure an injunction in order to stop the strikes from occurring.

How did Royal Mail respond?

In response to the notion of a strike, Royal Mail claimed that it was honouring the agreement made between them and the CWU. This saw them award two payment increases as well as taking their first steps into shortening the working week for employees. Following this Royal Mail also claims to be initiating a new pension scheme for workers. This is a way to emphasis the care and stability they have for the workforce.

If you have had any problems with Royal Mail or want to find out more information about how Royal Mail will be operating over the Christmas period then make sure to contact the Royal Mail customer Services to find out more.