Peace at last: Industry relief as postal dispute is settled

royal mail 2The marketing industry has breathed a collective sigh of relief after CWU members at Royal Mail voted to accept the company’s latest offer, bringing an end to the long-running and highly damaging postal dispute, said to have cost the business £200m.

The result of the ballot – announced on CWU’s YouTube channel – saw 75.84% of the 115,000 members vote yes, and 24.16% vote no on a 67.1% turnout.

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 CWU executive originally accepted the deal in April, with a ballot of members expected in May. However, this was suspended due to what the union described as a “toxic” working environment at Royal Mail.

The process restarted in late June, although some CWU members slammed the deal, branding it “a disgrace” while Socialist Party members called for a “no” vote.

But announcing the result, CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “This has been the most challenging period in both the history of the union and the company, and I want to thank every single member that has voted in this ballot.

“Our members will know it doesn’t end with today’s result – we all know what is going on in workplaces across the UK and we are going to deal with it. Many workers simply do not trust Royal Mail Group because of the company’s lack of integrity and the way they are being treated.

“Some wanted more from an agreement. Others find the prospect of changes such as later finishes unpalatable. Our job in the coming weeks and months is to make sure their voices continue to be heard.

“Far from being an endorsement of the actions of Royal Mail Group, this result will be the start of the union reconnecting in every workplace.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “The agreement provides Royal Mail a platform for the next phase of stabilising the business whilst continuing to drive efficiencies and change.

“The operational changes in the agreement are designed to be good for customers, increasing our ability to improve services and quality; good for employees, retaining job security and giving people a pay rise; good for the environment, reducing the company’s reliance on domestic air, further reducing carbon emissions; and good for shareholders, supporting the long-term sustainability of the business.”

One direct mail industry source commented: “The 18 days of industrial action meant we lost well over a month of service last year because of the disruption in the aftermath of strike days.

“This industry needs a strong postal service to thrive. At a time when consumers are getting bombarded with digital marketing, online ads and nonsense like the Metaverse, direct mail  offers a tangible and highly effective alternative and can achieve real standout across the generations.

“Hopefully now we can get back to delivering great results for our clients without the threat of further disruption.”

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