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Romford postal workers join 115,000 in national strike action

Romford posties are taking part in a demonstration in Parliament Square today (Credit: Dave McPherson)

Thousands of postal workers at Royal Mail have begun six days of strike action in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Around 115,000 members of staff will take part in the protest, which is expected to disrupt deliveries in the run-up to Christmas.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Royal Mail have been unable to come to an agreement following several months of negotiations.

Strike action is expected to take place on 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24 December.

Dave McPherson, from the Romford Mail Centre, told Time 107.5FM there are two main reasons they are going on strike.

He said: “Certainly job security is one. We’ve had fairly secure jobs for a long, long time in Royal Mail. We’ve been very fortunate. However, the business clearly wants to change. It wants to casualise the jobs that we do by bringing in agency people as opposed to your regular posties.

“The other thing is the cost of living crisis that we’re suffering at the moment. We need a fair, reasonable increase in our pay just to meet our daily bills, energy costs, utilities, shopping, mortgages and rents.”

Romford Royal Mail workers want better job security (Credit: Dave McPherson)

Dave estimates 15,000 postal workers have descended on Parliament Square for the Stand By Your Post demonstration at 1pm today.

He said it shows the “strength of feeling” that staff from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Cornwall have all traveled to attend the protest.

“Postmen and postwomen are not militant people,” added Dave. “They’re not people that go out on strike just for the sake of going out on strike. They feel really passionate about what’s happening to the service that we provide.

“They’re talking about modernisation but they want to start deliveries up to three hours later a day. Getting your mail three hours later a day isn’t modernisation. Reducing the service from six days down to five days isn’t modernisation either. Really what it’s doing is reducing the service and cost-cutting. It’s a race to the bottom.”

Dave has worked for Royal Mail for 35 years but is very concerned that the company might not want to resolve the matter.

“I firmly believe that if Royal Mail wanted to, they could resolve this dispute,” explained Dave.

“If they’re talking about finances, this is a company that back in May posted profits of £758 million. Suddenly they’ve gone to losing a million pounds a day. How you can do that in a matter of months I don’t know. I’m not sure how that works.”

Royal Mail claims it has offered workers “an enhanced pay deal of 9% over 18 months” but with a number of other concessions to terms and agreements.

“We’re urging CWU leadership to accept the change and pay offer, call off future damaging strike action, for the good of our customers and our people,” said a spokesperson for Royal Mail.

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

Royal Mail will prioritise the delivery of Covid test kits and medical prescriptions on the days that the strike action is taking place.

They will also deliver as many “Special Delivery” and “Tracked 24 parcels” as possible but will not be doing letters or “Door to Door” mail.

People are being advised to post their items as early as possible in advance of the strike dates.

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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