Britain’s new Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his cabinet are facing their first big challenge, a 24-hour postal strike that is set to cripple mail deliveries. It is the first nationwide walkout at the Royal Mail in over a decade. Despite union warnings that post office workers as well as delivery staff would take industrial action today, the Royal Mail says 14,000 post offices will not be affected.
The strike comes after the UK’s main postal union rejected a 2.5 per cent pay rise. It also fears the Royal Mail’s restructuring plans will result in up to 40,000 job losses. Sorting offices are also being hit by the industrial action. Defending its pay offer as fair, the Royal Mail insists it needs to modernize to compete with rival private delivery firms to whom its already lost a lot of business.
If the dispute is not resolved after today’s walkout, further strikes could follow.