Royal Mail slams Communication Workers Union October strike plans

The Royal Mail has condemned yesterday’s decision by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) to stage further strikes next month, criticising the CWU leadership for failing to understand the challenges ahead.

Tony McCarthy, group director of people and organisational development at Royal Mail, said the group had “not received one serious, costed proposal [from the CWU] – just a series of unrealistic demands, which we believe would add between £1bn and £2.5bn to the company’s cost base over the life of the plan.”

The comment was made in a letter to Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, which spelt out the challenges facing the group, including how the mail market is declining by 2.5% per year, and how Royal Mail had lost 40% of bulk business mail to rivals which pay staff 25% less.

Royal Mail also criticised the union for misleading its members over pensions. “The union has wrongly said that we have taken ‘executive action’ on pensions, when they know the company has not yet started its official 60-day pension consultation, which will begin in the first week in October.”

McCarthy also requested details from the CWU on how its proposals would close the “40% efficiency gap between Royal Mail and its competitors” and “improve profitability and cash flow, and ensure we have the headroom to stay solvent”.

The CWU has announced two 48-hour strikes, starting on Friday 5 October and Monday 8 October, meaning five days without delivery for customers.

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