The Royal Mail pay dispute is on the verge of ending, as the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents roughly 115,000 postal workers, has recommended that employees accept a new pay deal.
The dispute has been at play for over 11 months, but the outline of an agreement which states workers will receive a 10% increase in pay over 3 years was created last week. If workers decide to accept this offer it will signal an end to the dispute, which has seen frontline employees staging walkouts over work conditions and pay.
The agreement includes later starting times for deliveries, which would reportedly reduce the company’s environmental impact while increasing its ability to respond to delivery demands. Different seasonal working patterns have also been agreed, which Royal Mail said would allow it to develop its Monday to Sunday parcels business. Notably, a profit share scheme will see the first 20% of future profit go to frontline workers in a lump sum.
The CWU has recommended its members agree to the offer in an upcoming vote.
During negotiations, the union said it was pleased to see plans to introduce “Uberisation”, whereby owner drivers would be introduced into the Royal Mail workforce, abandoned.
A bitter journey
CWU members who work for the company have been in dispute since Spring 2022, resulting in multiple walkouts and 18 days of strike action from August to the end of 2022. These strikes reportedly cost Royal Mail £200m.
The CWU even called for Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson to be dismissed after being accused by MPs of “incompetence or cluelessness.”
Dave Ward, the general secretary of the CWU, told the BBC: ''We are completely satisfied that if people look at this agreement in the context of the magnitude of this dispute they will see this as a good agreement that will stand the test of time.''
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Royal Mail has suggested that the deal will allow the company to remain competitive, while ensuring stability and growth.
It said: " Royal Mail is currently materially loss-making. This agreement is an important step forward in the turnaround of Royal Mail and, if approved by the CWU membership, represents a good outcome for customers, employees and shareholders.
"The agreement provides a platform for the next phase of stabilising the business whilst continuing to drive efficiency and change.
"The operational changes in the agreement are designed to improve competitiveness, particularly in next-day parcels, reduce cost and environmental impact and improve quality of service for our customers."
The proposed deal will be put to union members over the coming weeks.