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'It's an insult to workers...' - Royal Mail staff prepare to vote on strike action over working conditions and pay

24 Aug 2019, 13:41 ... rs-3243427

Workers have branded Royal Mail as 'insulting' ahead of a ballot next month that could see more than 100,000 people striking over pay, job security, and employment terms.

Members from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will vote on industrial action from September 24, with the results due in the first week of October.

It comes after a dispute flared over the implementation of a 'Four Pillars Agreement' struck by the union and Royal Mail last year.

The agreement covered pay rises, new pension proposals, and plans to reduce the working hours from 39 to 35 a week by 2022 – subject to company productivity.

The union said in a statement: "In setting this timetable we clearly believe the business, in spite of its own media campaign, is not working within the spirit and intent of our national agreements.

"It is following its own agenda which will have long-term detrimental effects on our members' terms and conditions of employment, job security and the future of Royal Mail Group as a whole."

Jason Cornwall, delivery representative for North Staffordshire, says the national union had offered Royal Mail the chance to enter into external mediation but the company rebuffed the employees.

He said: "I don't think we have been left with any choice but to ballot the members considering how we are being treated at the moment by the business – this is the result of privatisation.

"The business has caused this and the union tried to enter into external mediation but it seems as though that has broken down. We've now been forced into this action.

"This comes at a time when we have been told the managers will be getting a pay rise and we can't get the working week changes."

As well as pay and working conditions, the CWU has raised concerns about Royal Mail's plans to move the Parcelforce business to a separate legal entity.

Shane O'Riordain, from Royal Mail, said: "We have not received formal notification of a ballot from CWU. We are disappointed they have set out a ballot timetable while discussions are ongoing.

"We are committed to open and constructive engagement with the CWU. We all want a successful and sustainable company that provides good quality jobs, fairness in workloads, and continues delivering the Universal Service."

The company said it was honouring the 2018 agreement, awarding two pay increases of five per cent and two per cent and granting the first hour's reduction in a shorter working week, even though it only generated some of the savings to pay for it.

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