Postal workers in the Portadown, Lurgan, Craigavon and across NI on 48 hour strike over pay

Royal Mail workers in the Craigavon, Lurgan and Portadown areas as well as across the UK have launched a new 48-hour strike today with expected disruption to deliveries.

This is the third batch of strike action by the Communication Workers Union and the postal workers plan another 48 hour strike at the end of this month.

Colin Mallon, Communication Workers Union representative for Lurgan Delivery Office and Brian Cummings, CWU rep in Portadown led the picket line at Highfield Depot in Craigavon where more than 100 workers are out on strike.

This is the third set of industrial action with previous strikes only 24 hours at a time.

Postal workers at Royal Mail's depot in Craigavon. Workers are on a 48 hour strike over pay
Postal workers at Royal Mail's depot in Craigavon. Workers are on a 48 hour strike over pay
Postal workers at Royal Mail's depot in Craigavon. Workers are on a 48 hour strike over pay

Mr Mallon said more than 115,000 postal staff are taking strike action across the UK today to demand a ‘dignified, proper pay rise’.


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Mr Cummings said the workers were seeking a pay rise in line with inflation. “The Royal Mail imposed a 2% pay rise, even though workers rejected it.”

He said workers are ‘angry’ at their treatment by Royal Mail. He explained that during the pandemic, when Royal Mail were losing money, the post office workers continued working. During the pandemic there was a rise in the use of the postal service and the Royal Mail made a huge profit, which Mr Cummings said much of which went to shareholders.

"We were the face for the people who were locked in their houses during the pandemic. Now Royal Mail has turned around a healthy profit, they have offered the workers 2%. It beggars belief. We are absolutely disgusted,” said Mr Cummings who explained that the firm had offered an extra 3% but it came with strings attached and would have had a serious detriment to their working conditions.

The union is demanding that Royal Mail Group make an adequate pay award that covers the current cost of living increases for our members.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: “Nobody takes the decision to strike lightly, but postal workers are being pushed to the brink. 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.

“The CWU’s message to Royal Mail’s leadership is simple – there will be serious disruption until you get real on pay.”

CWU Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger said: “Our members worked miracles during the pandemic and know full well what they are worth. The pay offer is an insult to our members and they are willing to fight for a no strings, real-terms pay rise that they are fully entitled to.

“Those managing Royal Mail Group are treating our members with contempt by imposing such a minimal amount.

“Royal Mail Group have failed to recognise the strength of feeling and have clearly lost the dressing room on pay, so they have left us with no choice but to fight.

“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: “We apologise for the impact the CWU’s industrial action is having on our customers. We are doing all we can to minimise any delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.

“This week, after many invitations, the CWU finally agreed to Royal Mail’s request to meet at the most senior level to decide on a way forward on the industrial dispute.

“Rather than engage on the need for change, the CWU restated their demands to retain the current outdated working practices, which includes working fewer hours for more pay.

“We are greatly concerned that the CWU are simply not interested in discussing the change needed to modernise this business and protect well-paid, permanent jobs long-term.

“The CWU declined our request to call off their strike action this Thursday and Friday. The CWU’s approach is setting us on a perilous path.

“Royal Mail is losing £1 million a day and strike action has weakened our financial position. Further strikes will make it weaker still. Without meaningful engagement on the change that is needed from the CWU, the position of the company will worsen and put jobs at risk.

“We remain ready to talk with the CWU to try and avert damaging industrial action and prevent further inconvenience for customers, but any talks must be about both change and pay. Change is the route to higher pay.”

The postal firm said: “Royal Mail has well-developed contingency plans, but they cannot fully replace the daily efforts of its frontline workforce. We will be doing what we can to keep services running, but customers should expect significant disruption.”

On days when strike action is taking place, Royal Mail says it will deliver as many special delivery and tracked 24 parcels as possible; prioritise the delivery of Covid test kits and medical prescriptions wherever possible; not be delivering letters (with the exception of special delivery).