Royal Mail strike dates 2022: when CMU members are striking in November and December, including Black Friday

Strikes are planned for Black Friday and Christmas Eve, traditionally one of Royal Mail’s busiest days

Royal Mail workers are set to strike over the next couple of days after talks between the company and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) ended without agreement.

The postal company says it has delivered its “best and final” offer to the union aimed at resolving a long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions. It comes after members of the CWU have held  a series of strikes in recent weeks which the company said had cost £100 million.

Royal Mail says its revised offer now 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.

The company added 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.

What’s been said?

Simon Thompson, Royal Mail’s chief executive said: “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.”

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

The CWU was yet to respond with a statement but a tweet posted by the union suggested that the terms were unacceptable. A fresh 48-hour strike is still set to be held on Thursday and Friday, covering the Black Friday shopping spree.

The tweet said: "We have today met with Royal Mail Group. CEO Simon Thompson did not even attend the meeting. The strikes tomorrow and Friday go ahead."

Royal Mail staff are also set to strike on six days in December, including on Christmas Eve - which is one of the busiest days of the year for the company. Communications Workers Union members are already planning to walk out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and have now added dates on 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24 December.

A CWU spokesperson said previously: “The CWU want a negotiated settlement with Royal Mail Group and will continue to engage the company to that end. But those in charge of Royal Mail need to wake up and realise we won’t allow them to destroy the livelihoods of postal workers.”

Union members will stage a 48-hour strike on both Friday 25 November and Monday 28 November. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the busiest online shopping days in the UK, with many taking advantage of discount sales ahead of the festive period. Now the two days before Christmas - December 23 and 24 - will also be hit.

Members of the CWU are involved in a long running dispute over pay and conditions. Strike action is set to continue, following on from previous walkouts in August, September, October and early November. Royal Mail has warned that service could be disrupted and said it is doing “all we can to minimise any delays”.

The walkouts follow a recent ballot for strike action which saw around 115,000 of CWU members vote to take action to fight for a “dignified, proper pay rise”.

When are Royal Mail staff striking?

The CWU has announced that Royal Mail workers will strike on six days in December - 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 2 - including Christmas Eve. This is in addition to strikes already notified for 24, 25 and 30 November, and 1 December.

CWU acting deputy general secretary Andy Furey said: “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.”

A Royal Mail 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:

  • 25 November
  • 28 November
  • 9 December
  • 11 December
  • 14 December
  • 15 December
  • 23 December
  • 24 December

Processing, distribution, international, collection and admin:

  • 24 November
  • 25 November
  • 28 November
  • 1 December
  • 9 December
  • 11 December
  • 14 December
  • 15 December
  • 23 December
  • 24 December

Delivery:

  • 25 November
  • 28 November
  • 2 December
  • 9 December
  • 11 December
  • 14 December
  • 15 December
  • 23 December
  • 24 December

Network:

  • 23 November
  • 25 November
  • 28 November
  • 30 November
  • 9 December
  • 11 December
  • 14 December
  • 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.

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%.

The CWU accused Royal Mail chief executive Simon Thompson of side-stepping talks aimed at avoiding strike action and said in recent weeks, relations between worker and employer have deteriorated, with Royal Mail serving legal notice that it was withdrawing from existing agreements with the union, as well as threatening to cut 10,000 jobs following strike action last week.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Instead of sitting down and sorting out his problems like an adult, Simon Thompson chose to be a vanishing act instead. When someone like him earns £62,750 a month and can give himself six-figure bonuses, it is a disgrace that he sees it fit to disrespect our members in such a way.

“Simon can’t dodge the reality that a mood of rebellion is sweeping postal workers who won’t accept Thompson’s hostile and bizarre behaviour. Postal workers go above and beyond every day and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We won’t be backing down until we get just that.”

Royal Mail said the CWU’s statement on Simon Thompson’s salary was incorrect, pointing out the correct figure was £525,000.