More strikes by Royal Mail workers have been announced in a worsening dispute over pay and conditions.
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are walking out on Thursday and Friday, threatening disruption to deliveries, and will now take further action at the end of the month.
The union announced a further 48-hour stoppage on September 30 and October 1, saying its 115,000 members were increasingly angry at an “imposed” 2% pay rise.
Picket lines will be mounted outside delivery and sorting offices on Thursday, following strikes last week.
The union said its members face a “dramatic” reduction in living standards because of the soaring rate of inflation.
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.”
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.”
The CWU has described the strikes as the biggest of the summer, which has also seen industrial action by rail workers, Openreach engineers, BT call centre staff, refuse collectors and barristers.