Postal workers are the latest to add to the wave of strikes in the UK

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By Daniel Bellamy
Postal workers on strike outside their biggest depot in London on December 9th 2022.
Postal workers on strike outside their biggest depot in London on December 9th 2022.   -   Copyright  AFP

In the UK it’s the Royal Mail postal workers who are the latest to go on strike as the country faces a wave of industrial action.

More than 115,000 workers stayed away on Friday and are due to strike on more days in the run-up to Christmas too, on December 14th, 15th, 23rd, and 24th.

Airports, buses, railways, and roads all face potential gridlock as the economy is battered by an inflation high of 11.1 %.

The strikers want their pay to rise with inflation but Royal Mail has so far refused - it's offered up to 9% over 18 months.

It is already struggling and reports a drop of 60 % in the number of letters it posts. Chief executive Simon Thompson says it's losing around €1.2 million a day which he says is unsustainable. But the strikers are unhappy that Thompson has an overall annual pay and perks package worth €880,000.

With the explosion in online shopping, the money to be made is now in delivering parcels instead, and customers are also expecting to receive them on Sundays, as Royal Mail's competitors do, but the company hasn't yet started to do.

Royal Mail is now aiming to shed around 10,000 of its workers by August 2023: around 6,000 would be made redundant and around 4,000 staff who are due to leave will not be replaced.

Meanwhile, millions of letters have been piling up and there will be a large Christmas backlog to sort through when they return to work.