Workers launch strike on Black Friday
Workers launch strike on Bla...
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Workers launch strike on Black Friday

26 November 2022
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Workers launch strike on Black Friday

Strikes sweep the country

The cost-of-living crisis in the UK is taking the shine off Black Friday. Some 235,000 workers went on strike across the country this week demanding higher pay and better working conditions.

Thousands of postal workers in the UK have called a two-day strike, derailing Black Friday after talks between Royal Mail and the Communications Workers Union collapsed.

Leaders of the union, which represents around 115,000 striking postal workers, resumed talks with Royal Mail executives early last month, negotiations having lasted seven months.

But Royal Mail Group recently renamed International Distributions Services on the London Stock Exchange said in a statement on Wednesday it had submitted its "best and final offer" and accused the union of "holding back Christmas in order to obtain a ransom".

The CWU announced a further 10 days of strike action before Christmas Eve, of which four have been formally notified, with the last one falling on December 1.

Royal Mail announced plans in October to cut up to 10,000 jobs by next summer and reported half-year adjusted operating losses of £219m, with chief executive Simon Thompson saying the strikes had already added £100m to the company's losses this year. IDS shares have fallen more than 58% since the start of the year.

It is worth noting that on Wednesday the union said it had met Royal Mail executives, but said Thompson was not present. In a statement, the CWU warned of "the end of Royal Mail as we know it".

Royal Mail claims its latest proposal includes a pay rise of up to 9% over 18 months, a new profit-sharing scheme for employees, a lockout of compulsory redundancies until the end of March 2023 and improved voluntary redundancy packages.

However, the union accused company bosses of "turning Royal Mail Group into a lean courier relying on casual labour", of forcing redundancies on postal workers while retaining lower-paid agency staff and of offering "a totally inadequate, back-door pay rise of 3.5%".

It also said the deal under discussion included cuts in sick pay, the abolition of Sunday bonuses, later start and finish times and "the introduction of technology that will monitor postal workers every minute of the day".

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