Royal Mail’s ‘best and final’ offer to avoid Black Friday strikes rejected |  Business news

Royal Mail’s ‘best and final’ offer to avoid Black Friday strikes rejected | Business news

Royal Mail says it has submitted a “best and final” offer to the union representing frontline workers in a bid to avert a 48-hour strike starting on Thursday covering the Black Friday shopping spree.

The company, which earlier this month claimed a series of redundancies over pay and modernization had cost it £100m, said a series of “comprehensive improvements” were on the table to resolve the dispute with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

The central offer was a salary agreement of up to 9% over 18 months.

royal mail said the measures also included a new profit-sharing scheme for employees and making voluntary redundancy terms more generous.

The CWU had yet to respond with a statement, but a tweet posted by the union suggested the conditions were unacceptable.

“We have today met with the Royal Mail Group. CEO Simon Thompson did not even attend the meeting. The strikes tomorrow and Friday will continue.”

Loss-making Royal Mail has argued that it must keep up with the times to survive.

It has sought to have its Saturday letter delivery requirement waived and wants to be able to deliver more profitable parcels seven days a week – on Sundays, for the first time, according to its plans.

Royal Mail staff on a picket line in Southampton
Picture:
Royal Mail staff on a picket line in Southampton

Royal Mail said last month it would consult on 6,000 redundancies but promised on Wednesday there would be no job losses until the end of March next year under its offer to the CWU.

Its parent company IDS has threatened to separate Royal Mail from the wider group unless it can establish a route back to profitability which, Royal Mail has argued, is impossible with costly industrial action.

The union carried out a vote of no confidence in Thompson among its 115,000 Royal Mail members earlier this week.

He said of the deal now on the table: “Talks have been going on for seven months and we have made a number of improvements and two pay offers, which will now see up to a 9% pay rise over 18 months along with a number of other improvements. This is our best and final offer.

“Negotiations involve give and take, but it appears the CWU’s approach is to just take. We want to reach an agreement, but time is running out for the CWU to change its position and avoid further damaging strike action tomorrow.

“The strikes have already added £100m to Royal Mail’s losses so far this year. In a materially loss-making company, with every extra day of strike action we face the difficult choice of whether to spend our money on pay and protecting jobs, or on the costs of strikes.”

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