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Union accuses Royal Mail bosses of ‘gross mismanagement’ as talks continue

Postal workers have accused Royal Mail bosses of “gross mismanagement”, as talks aimed at resolving a national dispute continue and strikes in the Christmas build-up look set to go ahead.

Dave Ward, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), accused the Royal Mail Group chief executive Simon Thompson and the board of creating financial problems by continually engaging in “dramatic errors of judgment”.

The union said it will continue strikes planned for November 24 and 25, and November 30 and December 1.

Postal strike
Communication Workers Union general secretary Dave Ward (James Manning/PA)

The union said some progress had been made in recent negotiations, but accused Royal Mail management of failing to put any commitments into writing. Talks will now continue.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “On November 7, we entered intensive talks with the CWU to reach an agreement on the current pay and change dispute.

“The talks, which had been scheduled to conclude on November 15, are continuing to allow more time for a resolution to be reached.

“But time is tight given the notified strikes starting on November 24. If these strikes go ahead, they will cause more damage to the business and make our improved 9% pay offer over two years less affordable.”

Mr Ward said: “No business making record profits of £758 million in May this year should be losing over £1 million a day in a matter of weeks without gross mismanagement.

“The truth is that the current senior leadership of Royal Mail have been treating employees, union representatives or future investors with a lack of integrity and transparency.

“Dramatic errors of judgment have been made, like announcing 10,000 job losses to threaten striking workers, abandoning previous agreements and handing over £567 million to shareholders while neglecting the pay of employees who generated that profit.

“Many things remain unexplained, like giving up Royal Mail’s household name in favour of ‘International Distributions Services’, refusing the union’s offer to escalate negotiations and ignoring the unrivalled network of Royal Mail Group to create new financial opportunities.

“We firmly believe these reckless decisions have been informed by power struggles in the boardroom, in the full knowledge of a potential future takeover bid.

“Postal workers need a deal that works for them, the communities they love and the industry they loyally serve, not one that covers up for chief executive and boardroom failures.

“The CWU – or this country – will never accept Royal Mail becoming another Uber-style gig economy courier.

“Thirty-two million households and countless small businesses are relying on this dispute to be over for the Christmas period.”