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Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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UK postal workers to hold series of strikes over pay


Agence France-Presse

Postal workers in Britain are set to stage a series of strikes in the coming weeks over pay, their union announced Tuesday, in the latest industrial action to hit the UK.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said the planned walkouts — on August 26 and 31, and September 8 and 9 — would be the biggest strike of the summer to demand a “dignified, proper pay rise”.

It follows a recent ballot of former state-run Royal Mail staff in the union, which was completed by 77 percent of members and saw 97.6 percent of them back striking.

Over 115,000 postal workers are set to walk out during the four days of action.

“Nobody takes the decision to strike lightly, but postal workers are being pushed to the brink,” CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said in a statement.

“There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve.”

However, Royal Mail’s management accused the CWU of failing to “engage in any meaningful discussion on the changes we need to modernise, or to come up with alternative ideas” during three months of talks.

Its operations director Ricky McAulay said the union had rejected a 5.5 percent pay rise offer, which was “the biggest increase we have offered for many years”.

“We can only fund this offer by agreeing the changes that will pay for it,” he added.

Workers across various UK industries, from the railways and airports to lawyers and public sector employees such as teachers and nurses, are demanding significant pay rises to keep up with surging inflation.

Staff at the Post Office, a separate public company that runs the nationwide network of branches following their separation from Royal Mail in 2012, held their own strike over pay last month.

Meanwhile national rail and London underground workers, lawyers and others have already staged several walkouts this summer, while other industrial action is planned.

It comes as the Bank of England last week predicted UK inflation would peak this year at just over 13 percent, reaching the highest level since 1980.

It also forecast Britain will sink into a lengthy recession later this year and unveiled the biggest interest rate hike since 1995.

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