Royal Mail staff have begun their second two-day strike following news that further industrial action is planned for the end of the month.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are walking out on Thursday and Friday amid a dispute over pay and worsening conditions.

The disruption comes after industrial action was held by the postal workers on both Friday, August 26 and Wednesday 31.

Picket lines are being mounted outside delivery and sorting offices on Thursday after the CWU described the strikes as the biggest of the summer.

County Times: Royal Mail announces further industrial actionRoyal Mail announces further industrial action (Image: PA MEDIA)

The union has also said that its members face a “dramatic” reduction in living standards because of the soaring rate of inflation.

When are the Royal Mail strikes?

The two-day industrial action is taking place on Thursday, September 8 and Friday, September 9.

The union also announced a further 48-hour stoppage on September 30 and October 1, since its 115,000 members were increasingly angry at an “imposed” 2% pay rise.

Why are Royal Mail workers striking?

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve.

“We can’t keep on living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks.

“When Royal Mail bosses are raking in £758 million in profit and shareholders pocketing in excess of £400 million, our members won’t accept pleads of poverty from the company.

“Postal workers won’t meekly accept their living standards being hammered by greedy business leaders who are completely out of touch with modern Britain.

“They are sick of corporate failure getting rewarded again and again.

“Royal Mail’s leadership have lost the dressing room – and unless they make efforts to get real on discussing a pay rise that postal workers deserve, serious disruption will continue.”

Mr Ward said the fresh strikes had been called following the “despicable” way staff were being treated.

CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said: “Our members worked miracles during the pandemic and know full well what they are worth.

“They are fighting for a no-strings, real-terms pay rise – something they are fully entitled to.

“Our members deserve a pay rise that rewards their fantastic achievements in keeping the country connected during the pandemic, but also helps them keep up during this current economic crisis.

“We won’t be backing down until we get just that.”

What has the Royal Mail said about the strikes?

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “The CWU’s decision to announce further strike action is placing jobs at risk. Royal Mail is losing £1 million a day. Strike action has weakened our financial position and is threatening the long-term job security of our postmen and women.

“The CWU has a responsibility to recognise the reality of the situation Royal Mail faces as a business and to engage urgently on the changes required.

“We are now a parcels business. We must adapt old ways of working designed for letters to a world increasingly dominated by parcels and act fast.

“We want to protect well-paid, permanent jobs long-term and retain our place as the industry leader on pay, terms and conditions. The CWU rejected our offer worth up to 5.5% for CWU grade colleagues, the biggest increase we have offered for many years. In a business that is currently losing £1 million pounds a day, we can only fund this offer by agreeing the changes that will pay for it.

“We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimise any delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”

How will Royal Mail postal services be affected by the strikes?

Royal Mail has said that it has “well-developed contingency plans” to minimise disruption.

It added that it was "focused on getting mail delivery back to normal as quickly as possible after strike action," but letters will not be delivered in strike day.

The company has apologised to customers but says it has plans to minimise the disruption.

On days when strike action is taking place, Royal Mail says it will:

  • Deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked24 parcels as possible
  • Prioritise the delivery of Covid test kits and medical prescriptions

Customers should be aware the items that they post the day before, during the strike or after could be caught up in the delays.

They have also advised us to post items as early as possible in advance of the strike dates and noted that collections will also be less frequent during the strikes.

Royal Mail has added that it cannot guarantee delivery of all special delivery items by 9 am or 1 pm the next day.

It confirmed that it would be suspending its regular guarantees while strike action is occurring.

Royal Mail users can continue to post items at the post box or at the post office but should be aware of the delays.