Royal Mail appeared to be caught between a rock and a hard place last week ,as the breakdown in negotiations with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) led to a call for strike action on 29 June – the first national strike for more than a decade. ‘Posties plot 24-hour national walkout’ (Precisionmarketing.co.uk, 22 June).
Royal Mail executives argued that the 2.5 per cent pay offer was fair, that modernisation plans were essential and that any industrial action would only hurt the business further. Chairman Allan Leighton outlined the potential consequences: ‘less pay, fewer jobs, worse pensions for postal workers and a bleak future for the Royal Mail’ (The Daily Telegraph, 22 June).
This view appeared to be supported when Royal Mail reported it had lost 40 per cent of its business-post market since opening to competition last year – news that was compounded by Amazon’s decision to end its £8m contract with the organisation.
The Scotsman referred to CWU’s strategy as ‘Striking a senseless blow’ (22 June), while even The Guardian, in its leader column, asserted that ‘The CWU’s action can only make the cuts, when they come, even worse’ (22 June).