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More strikes on the horizon as union ballots over Royal Mail postman pay row

The union representing staff at Royal Mail have said they will hold a ballot that could lead to even more strike action over pay, adding to the rail and tube mayhem seen this week.

The dispute is centred around worker pay. Royal Mail, which blamed the Communication Workers Union (CWU) for threatening its ability to hit profit targets in May, said it had offered a 5.5 per cent pay rise for CWU-grade workers.

Despite this being one of the biggest pay hikes in years, the CWU rejected the terms and said upcoming ballot results would determine whether they will take industrial action and strike.

“Today we will be serving a notice on Royal Mail Group over a pay claim, our claim for an inflation-based no strings pay award,” CWU’s deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said in a video posted on Twitter.

“The company has imposed two per cent pay award, miles away from where inflation is, totally inadequate”, Pullinger said.

Inflation, now at nine per cent, is set to surpass 11 per cent in October, according to the Bank of England.

He said the union would be looking for a deal that the members need to face up to the current cost of living crisis. “At that point, depending on where we are, we will make a decision as whether we need to take industrial action, and if there has been no movement that is exactly what we will be recommending,” he added.

He asserted that this was notice was about “pay and pay alone”, but said that other issues would be addressed at a later point if needed.

The result of the ballot will be released by July 19.

It comes after Royal Mail chief executive Simon Thompson was awarded a £140,000 bonus, taking his annual package to around £700,000, according to the Daily Mirror, despite an Ofcom investigation about missed delivery targets by the firm.

While Royal Mail admitted that almost a fifth of first-class deliveries were arrived at least a day late in the year to April, the postal service firm was quick to blame the pandemic and staff absences caused by the ‘pingdemic’.

Responding to the CWU decision, Royal Mail has said it hoped to resolve the dispute, with further talks due to come this week.

“We believe there are no grounds for industrial action”, a Royal Mail spokesperson said in a statement.

“We offered a deal worth up to 5.5 per cent for CWU grade colleagues, the biggest increase we have offered for many years, which was rejected by the CWU.”

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