Royal Mail strike moves closer as ballot papers are sent out in pay row | Business News

The union representing 115,000 postal workers at Royal Mail has begun a vote that could lead to late summer strikes in a bitter row over pay and jobs.

The CWU, which is also involved in pay disputes at BT and the Post Office amid the widespread union scramble for awards in line with soaring inflation, is sending out ballot papers after rejecting the company’s offer.

Its general secretary Dave Ward told Sky News he was expecting a “very big yes vote” on the back of record profits for the company and a £400m payout to Royal Mail shareholders.

“At the same time as the CEO and board have decided to impose a 2% pay increase on workers, they’re getting bonuses in the region of £140,000.

“By any level of fairness, this is completely unacceptable”.

He defended the union’s aim for a settlement that protects its members from the cost of living crisis, saying that it was part of a wider union push for a rebalancing of equality after years of poor outcomes for ordinary workers.

Inflation, currently at 9.1%, is set to surpass 11% in October, according to the most recent forecast by the Bank of England.

The result of the ballot will be known by 19 July.

“At that point, depending on where we are, we will make a decision as whether we need to take industrial action, and if there has been no movement that is exactly what we will be recommending,” Mr Pullinger added.

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Last week: Royal Mail boss on pay talks

Royal Mail boss Simon Thompson told Sky News earlier this month how it had offered a 5.5% pay rise and passed on – with no strings attached – a 2% hike to help its workers navigate the cost of living crisis while talks with the CWU continued.

It suggested that the remaining 3.5% on the table was conditional on the union accepting the company’s need to modernise as it aims to become a parcels-focused business due to the gradual decline in letter volumes.

The company is also understood to have offered a new ‘above and beyond’ bonus.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We believe there are no grounds for industrial action. We offered a deal worth up to 5.5% for CWU grade colleagues, the biggest increase we have offered for many years, which was rejected by the CWU.

“We need to reach an agreement on the changes required to ensure Royal Mail can grow and remain competitive in a fast-moving industry, securing jobs for the future and retaining our place as the industry leader on pay and terms and conditions.”

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