‘Landmark’ deal to end dispute at Royal Mail

A deal has been reached between Royal Mail and the workers’ union following a two-year dispute over job security, pay, and hours.

The settlement includes a two-year pay deal backdated to April, worth 3.7%, and a one-hour reduction in the working week, according to the Communication Workers Union.

The CWU said there will be no compulsory redundancies and that the business’s objective would instead be one of job creation.

It means Royal Mail can move ahead more easily with planned changes, including developing a 24/7 operation for parcels and new technology and automation.

Royal Mail’s interim executive chairman Keith Williams said: “We have a window of opportunity to focus Royal Mail on what our customers want today – an ever-growing need for more parcels, whilst providing a sustainable letters service.

“This agreement provides a framework to do just that, but the proof will be in the pudding. We have been far too slow to adapt in the past and now need to deliver change much more quickly.”

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “This is a landmark agreement that means that even in these incredibly difficult times, when members stand in solidarity with their union, it is entirely possible to plan a future that can still benefit workers, customers and the company.

“The agreement has also been made possible because of the fantastic efforts of postal workers, who as key workers have kept the country connected and met customer and social needs throughout the pandemic.”

Deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said: “For the last two years we have disagreed with the company on their vision of the future in our belief that it was blinkered, unambitious and based on managed decline.

“It would have severely damaged this great public service, threatened the universal service, reduced social inclusion, and cost thousands of decent jobs.

“The irony of this terrible year is that it has demonstrated that postal workers are the most trusted provider on the doorstep, that the need for a universal equality of service provider is as real today as it ever was.”

The CWU said there would be a national ballot of members in January next year.

In November, Royal Mail revealed a £20m group operating loss for the first half of the year but it said an increase in the number of parcel deliveries during the pandemic would help its outlook.

At the time, it also said around 33,000 additional flexible workers had been recruited to help during the peak season leading up to Christmas.

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