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Royal Mail offers pay rise as CWU prepares to vote on strike action

Royal Mail

Royal Mail has offered a pay rise to employees in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) as it hopes to neutralise a potential strike by the union.

The deal would amount to a 6% pay rise over three years for these employees, meaning an increase of 16% between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2023. It also reiterated its policy of no compulsory redundancies and no zero hour contracts for permanent employees.

The postal giant made a final pitch for workers to support its turnaround plan, saying that the pay rise would only be possible if the company grows.

The CWU is set to ballot members from 3 March over whether to take strike action, after a High Court injunction prevented a strike late last year. The court ruled in favour of Royal Mail’s submission to the court which claimed there had been potential irregularities in the ballot in favour of strike action in October 2019.

The company said these included members being asked to intercept and remove their ballot papers from mail coming into their delivery offices before they were delivered to homes. Royal Mail also claimed members had been instructed to vote yes on the ballot and been told to do so in groups. They added that members had been encouraged to open their ballot papers on site, mark them with a yes and provide evidence of this.

The CWU did not respond for a request to comment. However, with the Royal Mail having published its offer on 20 January, the union’s website featured an article on 24 January encouraging members to back a strike, suggesting it had not softened its stance.

The dispute centres on the “Four Pillars” deal reached between the CWU and Royal Mail last year which included pay rises and reductions in working time. The CWU accuses Royal Mail of breaking this agreement.

For its part, Royal Mail argues that changes to contracts will be necessary to support new services such as two van deliveries per day.