Royal Mail managers vote to strike as Britain's summer of disruption set to get worse

June 29, 2022

Royal Mail managers have voted to strike in a dispute over what their union describes as an "ill-thought-out redeployment programme".

Members of the Unite union backed the industrial action by 86%, and by 89% in Northern Ireland.

Their ballot was a response to what the union says are plans to cut 542 frontline delivery managers' jobs, as well as implement a redeployment programme with worse terms and conditions.

About 2,400 managers at more than 1,000 delivery offices are involved in the dispute.

The strike dates have not yet been confirmed.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "It is no surprise at all that these workers have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action.

"Make no mistake, Royal Mail is awash with cash - there is no need whatsoever to sack workers, drive down pay or pursue this ill-thought-out redeployment programme.

"These plans are all about boardroom greed and profiteering and nothing whatsoever to do with securing this vital public service.

'Ruinous path'

"Shareholders have been seizing the Royal Mail profits, while our members have been holding the service together. Enough is enough.

"Our Royal Mail members are guaranteed Unite's 100% support in any industrial action they take this summer to get the company off this ruinous path."

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: "We are disappointed by the announcement that Unite members have voted in favour of both industrial action and industrial action short of a strike, also known as work to rule.

"Unite have stated they will be informing us in due course in relation to the terms of any industrial action.

"Throughout the ballot process, Unite head office has misled members about additional job losses. This is not true. Unite has ignored our request to correct these claims.

"There are no grounds for industrial action. The extended consultation on these changes concluded earlier this year, and the restructuring is complete.

"We committed to protecting pay for all managers who stay with Royal Mail, and the vast majority will see an increase in their earnings.

"We allowed managers to request voluntary redundancy with a package of up to two years' salary, which was over-subscribed. We also made several concessions during the process, which Unite declined.

"The ballot covers around a third of our 6,000 managers and we have contingency plans in place to keep letters and parcels moving in the event of a strike."

'Only the beginning'

The workers would be the latest to head to the picket lines, as Britain faces a summer of disruption.

Last week the rail network was brought to a near standstill by its biggest strike in 30 years, and the TSSA union said on Wednesday its members in train station roles at Avanti West Coast had also voted to strike.

Avanti West Coast operates passenger services including trains from London Euston to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: "The ballot result at Avanti is only the beginning.

"Our union is balloting members across almost another dozen train companies and Network Rail.

"If they had any sense they would come to the table and sort this out, so we have a fair settlement for workers."

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