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Statement - Royal Mail - Strike Update PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 29 June 2007
Royal Mail said today that despite a national postal strike called by the CWU just 26 Post Office branches were closed with the rest of the 14,200-strong network open and serving customers.

In Royal Mail’s letters operation support for the strike was patchy with between 1% and 22% of our people at work in some units in London while nationally the range was up to 60% of people working.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "We are very sorry at the disruption to our customers’ mail services caused by this strike action. We’re doing all we can to mitigate the impact with management volunteers aiming to collect mail from Post Office branches and we are also delivering Special Delivery mail today.

"The strike is simply ignoring the reality facing everyone in Royal Mail - that we are no longer a monopoly and rivals this year will be handling one letter in every five posted. The dispute is about the whole future of Royal Mail and the absolutely urgent need to modernise, as our rivals have already done, so that we can compete successfully against competitors who are winning an increasing share of the mail market - not because they work harder than Royal Mail’s people - but because technology has made them more efficient.

"The postal market is also declining - by 2.5% a year - in the face of competition from electronic communications such as email and broadband development.

"The simple fact is that rivals pay their people 25% less than Royal Mail and they are 40% more efficient than Royal Mail because they have already modernised so their costs and hence their prices are lower and are undercutting Royal Mail’s.

"We are very disappointed that the CWU has failed to grasp these realities of the increasingly tough commercial market we face. The challenges won’t go away and the longer we put off change, the bigger the challenge Royal Mail and its people face. The union don’t seem to realise how damaging the strike is - to customers, to Royal Mail’s people and the company.

"Royal Mail remains very willing to meet the union to explain the challenges we face but there is no avoiding the need to work at pace to modernise the company. The alternative is stagnation and the future will then start to look very bleak for everyone in Royal Mail.

"The fact is that there is without a doubt a bright future for everyone in the company - but we need to modernise now and at pace. The Government is providing a £1.2 billion loan on commercial terms to allow for the first time in years significant investment in new technology and new equipment that will transform our operations and give us the means to compete successfully. That’s what we need to focus on and we urge the union to abandon strikes and the threat of more action. We remain available to meet the union at any time to explain the company’s position."

• The pay offer on the table comprises: a 2.5% increase in basic pensionable pay, PLUS an £800 cash dividend if performance targets are hit this year PLUS a 50-50 share in any savings at local operating unit over and above budget.
• Although basic pay for postmen and women is £323 a week, the average fulltime postman and woman earns £440 - above the national average - when pay supplements and overtime are taken into account.
• The union’s pay demand lodged on March 6 was for a 27% rise in basic pay and a cut in the working week, which in total would cost the company £1 billion - money which we simply don’t have.
• One of the Post Office branches closed today was the office in Rotherham, where flood damage - not strike action - had prevented the branch from opening. Strike action ended at 12noon today in Crown Post Office branches.
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