Royal Mail strike dates 2022: when CWU members are striking in December, including Christmas Eve, amid pay row

Strikes are planned for Christmas Eve which is traditionally one of Royal Mail’s busiest days

Royal Mailworkers are staging the second day of a fresh 48-hour strike today in the increasingly bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will mount picket lines outside sorting and delivery offices across the country after the row over pay remains deadlocked. It is the latest walkout in the six days of festive strikes being in the run-up to Christmas, causing major disruption and delays to deliveries of letters and parcels.

It comes after at least 15,000 union members gathered outside Parliament last Friday (10 December) to stage a rally, in what was dubbed the biggest postal workers’ demonstration in living memory.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Royal Mail bosses are risking a Christmas meltdown because of their stubborn refusal to treat their employees with respect. Postal workers want to get on with serving the communities they belong to, delivering Christmas gifts and tackling the backlog from recent weeks.

“But they know their value, and they will not meekly accept the casualisation of their jobs, the destruction of their conditions and the impoverishment of their families. This can be resolved if Royal Mail begin treating their workers with respect, and meet with the union to resolve this dispute.”

Thousands of Royal Mail staff will go on strike again over the coming weeks (Photo: Getty Images)

Royal Mail now brought forward the final posting dates for Christmas cards because of the industrial action. The postal service hit out at the union for striking at its busiest time and “deliberately holding Christmas to ransom” for customers across the UK.

It said: “We are doing everything we can to deliver Christmas for our customers, and would like to thank the increasing number of posties returning to work each strike day, temporary workers and managers from across the business who are helping to keep the mail moving. However, this task becomes more challenging as Christmas nears.

“Three weeks ago, we made a best and final pay offer worth up to 9% over 18 months. Instead of working with us to agree on changes required to fund that offer and get pay into our posties’ pockets, the CWU has announced plans to ballot in the New Year for further strike action.

“Their misguided belief that further industrial action, in a business already losing more than £1 million a day, will result in an improved pay offer is misleading its members and risking their long-term job security.”

The CWU said it had offered “simple solutions” to end the dispute, including a back-dated pay deal of 9% over 18 months, a long-term job security commitment from Royal Mail’s chief executive and a period of calm for negotiations on the future direction of the company.

The union said Royal Mail did not offer to meet with the CWU, adding that planned strikes on Wednesday 14 December, Thursday 15 December, Friday 23 December and Saturday 24 December are set to go ahead.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward added: “Today’s actions by the Royal Mail show they couldn’t be less interested in resolving this dispute or saving Christmas – their sole intention is to destroy the livelihoods of over 115,000 postal workers and wreck the service they provide.

“Posties are facing an outright assault on their livelihoods and dignity, and have no choice but to see this dispute through to its conclusion. The reckless, aggressive and bullying attitude from senior managers of this company is now totally out of control.

“When our members take strike action on Wednesday and Thursday, the question every media outlet should be asking is not why they’re striking, but why these people are being allowed to get away with the evaporation of a 500-year-old national treasure.”

When are Royal Mail staff striking?

Royal Mail staff are striking on six days in December, including on Christmas Eve - which is one of the busiest days of the year for the company. CWU members have already staged walkouts on 9, 11 and 14 December, and are also set to strike on 15, 23 and 24 December.

Royal Mail said it had made its “best and final” offer to the union aimed at resolving the long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions, but “no talks are happening”. It comes after members of the CWU have held  a series of strikes in recent weeks which the company said had cost £100 million.

The postal service says its revised offer includes “extensive improvements”, including an enhanced pay deal of up to 9% over 18 months, offering to develop a new profit share scheme for employees, and making voluntary redundancy terms more generous. It had previously offered a 7% pay rise over two years.

The company said it was also committing to no compulsory redundancies until the end of March 2023 at the earliest, and seasonal working proposals would be changed so that employees would work around two hours less a week in the summer, and two hours more in the winter. It also added that it was offering to buy out a number of legacy allowances, make Sunday working voluntary and staggering the introduction of later start and finish times over three years.

Simon Thompson, Royal Mail’s chief executive, said previously: “Talks have lasted for seven months and we have made numerous improvements and two pay offers, which would now see up to a 9% pay increase over 18 months alongside a host of other enhancements. This is our best and final offer.

“Negotiations involve give and take, but it appears that the CWU’s approach is to just take. We want to reach a deal, but time is running out for the CWU to change their position and avoid further damaging strike action tomorrow.

“The strikes have already added £100 million to Royal Mail’s losses so far this year. In a materially loss making company, with every additional day of strike action we are facing the difficult choice of about whether we spend our money on pay and protecting jobs, or on the cost of strikes.”

Royal Mail has warned that service could be disrupted and said it is doing “all we can to minimise any delays”. A spokesperson said: “Our preference is for an agreement with the CWU but the change we need is not optional. They should be focused on a resolution to this dispute for their members and the long-term health of the business, rather than damaging strike action.”

Royal Mail strike dates 2022

Workers who collect, sort and deliver parcels and letters:

  • 15 December
  • 23 December
  • 24 December

Processing, distribution, international, collection and admin:

  • 15 December
  • 23 December
  • 24 December

Delivery:

  • 15 December
  • 23 December
  • 24 December

Network:

  • 15 December
  • 23 December
  • 24 December

Royal Mail has said on days when national strike action is taking place it will deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked24 parcels as possible, and prioritise the delivery of Covid test kits and medical prescriptions. The postal service will not be delivering letters on these days, with the exception of Special Delivery.

It is recommended that people post items as early as possible in advance of the strike dates, but collections will be less frequent on days when strike action is taking place. The new last posting dates for arrival for Christmas Day are:

  • 1st Class, 1st Class Signed For – 16 December
  • Special Delivery Guaranteed – 21 December

Why are Royal Mail staff going on strike?

The CMU is striking over a long-running dispute over pay and conditions and has accused the postal service of planning structural change, which would effectively see employees in secure, well-paid jobs turned into a “casualised, financially precarious workforce overnight”.

The union said plans include delaying the arrival of post to members of the public by three hours, cuts in workers’ sick pay and inferior terms for new employees. It explained that workers rejecting a pay freeze for 2021-22 and a pay offer of 5% with effect from 1 April 2022, with a £500 one-off lump sum. The union said this would have been a dramatic real-terms pay cut for workers, with inflation reaching 11.1%.

CWU acting deputy general secretary Andy Furey said previously: “This dispute has always been about a company having respect for dedicated public servants who, as key workers, provided unprecedented customer service during the pandemic. The determination of these people hasn’t swayed, and nor has their sense of betrayal.

“They won’t accept their living standards being smashed by people running a service that generated tens of millions of pounds in profit out of our members’ efforts. There is more than enough money for a reasonable pay rise – implementing this real-terms pay cut has always been a management choice, not a necessity. We urge management to see sense, get into real negotiations and cut a fair deal to avert these strikes.”