POSTAL workers in Galashiels have today Thursday October13 2022 joined colleagues from throughout the UK in taking strike action in their long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said its 115,000 members across the UK will be taking action, describing it as the largest strike in a year that has seen industrial unrest across several industries, including rail.

Branch Secretary of the CWU Scotland Branch Number two Gary Clark joined fellow pickets outside the Galashiels Delivery Office in Channel Street.

He told the Border Telegraph: “The strike is about and also terms and conditions. We have had a 2% rise imposed on us at a time when inflation is in double figures.

“98% of our members voted for strike action from a 77% turn out.

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“This is at a time when millions has been paid out to shareholders and directors are getting massive bonuses as we struggle. None of us want to be on strike. We all want to be at our work, and we just want an inflation proof pay rise.

“I’ve been on strike a few times over the years, but I have never seen support like this, ever. Café’s have been giving us bacon rolls and coffee and not charging us and members of the public have been coming up to the picket lines and offering their support.

“There has been a complete change in people’s views because we’re are all in this together.”

As he was speaking a number of drivers demonstrated their support by honking horns and giving thumbs up gestures.

The union has accused the Royal Mail of planning structural change, which would effectively see employees in secure, well-paid jobs turned into a “casualised, financially precarious workforce overnight”.

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The CWU said plans include delaying the arrival of post to members of the public by three hours, cuts in workers’ sick pay and inferior terms for new employees.

The union has announced 19 further days of strike action in the build up to the busy Christmas period and is demanding that Royal Mail Group make an adequate pay award that covers the current cost of living increases for their members.

Border Telegraph: Postal workers on picket line outside Galashiels Delivery Office on Thursday October 13 2022Postal workers on picket line outside Galashiels Delivery Office on Thursday October 13 2022 (Image: Newsquest John Hislop)

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.

“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 like this any longer, and the leadership of Royal Mail must recognise this sooner rather than later.

“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.”

“Royal Mail Group claim to be losing £1 million a day. The CWU believe these figures need to be scrutinised.”

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A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Three weeks ago, Royal Mail invited the CWU to enter talks through Acas to find a resolution to our change and pay dispute. We have not reached an agreement with the CWU on this request.

“Royal Mail is losing £1 million a day and must change faster in response to changing customer demands.

“The CWU leadership’s choice of damaging strike action over resolution is weakening the financial position of the company and threatening the job security of our postmen and women.

“We call on the CWU leaders to cancel their planned strike action and accept our invitation to enter talks through Acas without further delay.

“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.”