LONDON (Bywire News) - The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is set to ballot Royal Mail members on industrial action, just days after doing the same for BT workers. The potential action adds more weight to the argument that perhaps the UK just needs to go on a general strike. Because at the same time, inflation has just rocketed again.
CWU: BT under fire
As Bywire News previously reported, the CWU is currently balloting its 40,000 members who work for BT. This is because the company has offered a paltry 4.8% pay rise which is not even real terms – so, effectively a cut. It’s even more of a wage reduction when you factor in inflation has just hit 9.1% - the highest rate in 40 years.
At the same time, BT wants to pay out nearly ¾ of a billion to shareholders this year – around 60% of its overall profit. This is while workers’ pay is now worth less than it was in 2019. So, the CWU opened the industrial action ballot for members on June 15. Now, it’s doing the same for Royal Mail workers.
Royal Mail: paying a pittance
The company has offered a 5.5% pay rise to workers, including a 2% rise from July. A Royal Mail spokesperson told Sky News:
“We believe there are no grounds for industrial action.
We offered a deal worth up to 5.5% for CWU grade colleagues, the biggest increase we have offered for many years, which was rejected by the CWU”.
Clearly, there are grounds for industrial action – given that Royal Mail’s pay rise plans actually equate to a near 3.6 percentage point pay cut when you factor in inflation.
Bosses sitting pretty
Of course, if you’re Royal Mail then it’s one rule for workers, and another for everyone else. Because it’s just given shareholders a pay rise – increasing their annual dividend payment to 15% of the stock price; a 5.2 percentage point rise. Oh, and let’s not forget the boss of Royal Mail Simon Thompson recently got a £142k bonus – taking his pay/benefits package to over ¾ of a million.
CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said:
“The company has imposed 2% pay award, miles away from where inflation is, totally inadequate”.
He said that if there was “no movement” from Royal Mail after the ballot result was in then strike action “is exactly what we will be recommending”.
The CWU will be sending out ballots to members on Tuesday, June 28, with the results expected by July 19. Of course, the union is not alone in this – with the RMT union staging a high-profile walkout, along with the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) of barristers - and other unions giving noises-off to industrial action.
Given that hardly any workers appear to be getting a pay rise at a time when inflation is out of control and government and corporations are doing nothing – maybe it’s high time unions called a general strike. Because the so-called cost of living crisis is going nowhere. And currently, no one in power is doing anything about it.
(Writing by Steve Topple, editing by Klaudia Fior)