More than 100,000 Royal Mail workers have announced plans to strike on two of the busiest days of the year for the postal service.
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are set to stage 48-hour walkouts around both Black Friday on 25 November and Cyber Monday on 28 November, due to an ongoing dispute over pay and working conditions. Members have already taken part in a series of walkouts in recent weeks - and while strikes planned for earlier in November were called off, the union's general secretary warned that industrial action will continue in the run-up to Christmas unless the issues are resolved, The Mirror reports.
General secretary Dave Ward said of the ongoing dispute: "Posties are in the fight of their lives against the Uberisation of Royal Mail and the destruction of their conditions. But 115,000 of our members will not just accept this war on their livelihoods and their industry."
He continued: "They will never give up the fight to protect this industry and to protect their hard-won working conditions. [Royal Mail CEO] Simon Thompson has to either accept that or walk away – until he does one or the other, serious disruption will continue.”
CWU Acting Deputy General Secretary Andy Furey added: "Simon Thompson’s plan is evident – they want to destroy this company as we know it. They want outsourcing, casualisation, the decimation of working practices and pay.
"But so many of our members have given their entire working lives to building this company," he said. "They deserve a much better deal than what is on offer, and Simon Thompson is on another planet if he thinks we’ll stop fighting to achieve that."
The CWU accused Royal Mail of "declaring war on your postie" after the postal service made an offer on pay and conditions on Monday, which the union will recommend that its members reject when it puts the offer to a ballot vote. Members will also be asked to deliver a vote of no confidence in boss Simon Thompson, according to PA.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: "On Monday October 31, Royal Mail proposed a new pay-for-change offer to the CWU worth 9% over two years, despite making a loss of £219 million in the first half of the year. The CWU have been in talks with us at [conciliation service] Acas and claim they are open to change but they now need to show it.
"Instead, the CWU have announced four days of strike action which will damage our business further at our busiest time of year. The CWU is playing a dangerous game with its members' jobs and the future of Royal Mail.
"We urge CWU to withdraw these strikes for the good of our customers and our people. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU's continued strike action will cause," the spokesman added. "We are doing all we can to minimise delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected."