Royal Mail managers will strike later this month over proposed job and pay cuts, as trade union leaders accused the UK postal service of putting profits ahead of customer service.
The strike, due to be held between July 20 and 22, is in response to Royal Mail’s plans to axe 700 jobs and cut the pay of its members by up to £7,000, trade union Unite said on Tuesday.
“This business is awash with cash but it is putting profits and dividends for the few at the top ahead of its duties as a public service,” said Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary. “There is not a single aspect of these cuts which is about improving customer service.
Unite said Royal Mail managers would also “work to rule” — adhering strictly to contract terms — from July 15-19.
During the strike and work to rule days “some key services, like next day delivery . . . will be delayed”, the union said.
Royal Mail said there were “no grounds for industrial action” and that it did not recognise the £7,000 pay cut.
“We committed to protecting pay for all managers who stay with Royal Mail, and the vast majority have seen an increase in their earnings.”
It added that the 700 job losses were achieved through voluntary redundancy. “We allowed managers to request voluntary redundancy with a package of up to two years’ salary, which was oversubscribed.”
Royal Mail noted that the strike was by managers and would not involve the workers who collect, process and deliver post.
The company’s share price was largely unaffected by the announcement of industrial action, falling 1 per cent in afternoon trade on Tuesday in London.
In May, Royal Mail said group revenue for the year to March was 0.6 per cent higher year on year at £12.7bn, driven by the performance of parcel sorting subsidiary GLS.
However, revenue from its UK postal service dropped 1.6 per cent year on year as delivery volumes fell after pandemic curbs were eased.
The company also announced that £400mn had been returned to shareholders, via a special dividend and share buyback, after a surge in profits thanks to the online shopping boom during the pandemic.