‘Everything crossed’ as posties vote to end mail dispute

royal mail_20The direct mail market is keeping its collective fingers – “and everything else” – crossed that the highly damaging and bitter postal dispute has finally been settled, eight months after Royal Mail workers first went out on strike.

The company and the Communication Workers Union, which represents about 115,000 posties, said they had reached a deal. However, although the CWU’s executive committee has ratified the agreement, it needs to be rubber stamped CWU members who will be balloted “as soon as possible”.

The deal includes a 10% salary increase and a one-off lump sum of £500 for all CWU-grade employees in Royal Mail and Parcelforce, regardless of union membership.

This is broken down into a previous 2% pay rise from April 1 2022; a 6% pay rise from April 1 2023 and a 2% pay rise from April 1 2024. The one-off payment of £500 is equivalent to 2% of pay and pro-rated for part-time staff.

The two sides have also agreed on a profit-share agreement, with a fifth of any profits Royal Mail makes an in any financial year up to 2024-25 to be handed out as a one-off payment to employees.

The company said: “Royal Mail is currently materially lossmaking. This agreement is an important step forward in the turnaround of Royal Mail and, if approved by the CWU membership, represents a good outcome for customers, employees and shareholders.”

The union claimed victory in its fight against the “Uberisation” of Royal Mail, insisting the firm will no longer seek the introduction of owner-drivers, slash the use of agency workers, confirm that there will be no compulsory Sunday working, and establish an independent inquiry for suspended or sacked staff.

A union spokesperson said: “This situation has been arrived at only because of the sheer determination of every postal worker in this country who stood up for themselves, their jobs and their industry. We intend to put this deal to our members’ vote as soon as possible.”

The long running dispute dates back to last spring, with the first strike action actually taking place on August 26 and 31, and September 8 and 9, sparking calls from industry body the DMA for an “urgent resolution”. At the time, it called on both sides to thrash out a deal to prevent what it described as “yet another hardship for companies during extremely challenging economic times”.

There is little doubt that the delay in securing an agreement has been highly damaging for the direct mail and unaddressed mail market – not to mention parcel deliveries – hitting confidence in the sector at a time when budgets are being squeezed.

One industry insider told Decision Marketing: “The direct mail market needs a strong postal service, and we can only keep our fingers – and everything else – crossed that CWU members will accept the deal. It is not a forgone conclusion – you only have to look at the nurses’ dispute to see that – but the sector needs a settlement, and now.

“With competition for media spend rife, direct mail needs to work harder than ever. We have the evidence from Jicmail that the medium is highly effective; now we need Royal Mail and the CWU to work together to deliver the goods.”

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