Christmas postal chaos is looming, it has been claimed, after photos emerged showing what appears to be a huge backlog of mail piling up at depots from the recent wave of strikes.
The images are said to have been taken in the last few days, the Mirror reported, and show mountains of packed mail bags and cages at Royal Mail sites in north-west England, south-west London and Essex.
The latest 48-hour strike by members of the Communication Workers Union ended yesterday (Thursday, December 1) , at the start of the busy festive period. But pressure is piling on Royal Mail bosses to avert more strike action planned up to Christmas Eve.
Bosses and the union are at odds over issues including pay, redundancies and start times. The CWU claims Royal Mail wants to become a parcel courier reliant on casual labour, and has accused chief executive Simon Thompson of refusing to attend a crucial meeting last week.
General secretary Dave Ward said: “It’s beyond me why he didn’t bother turning up to the meeting that could have averted these strikes. Simon Thompson’s obsession with forcing through the destruction of workers’ living standards has risked a national mail meltdown at Christmas.”
He said of the backlog: “Posties are willing to bend over backwards to clear it and get Christmas back on track.” More strikes are scheduled for December 9 and 11, with 48-hour stoppages on December 14-15 and 23-24.
Royal Mail said it will deliver as much priority mail as possible on strike days and added that Mr Thompson has been involved in the talks with the CWU for seven months, including four weeks of talks at conciliation service ACAS.
He was not at the meeting last week but a source within the company claimed it was held online and lasted a few minutes. Royal Mail added: “We have the best pay and conditions in our industry. In an industry dominated by insecure work and low pay, our model sets us apart and we want to preserve it. We remain available to meet to discuss our best and final offer worth up to 9%.”
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