Royal Mail workers have begun a wave of strikes in the run-up to Christmas as a row over pay and conditions shows no signs of being resolved.

The walkouts involve 115,000 workers and will hit deliveries across the UK, Royal Mail said.

Millions of pieces of mail have been piling up ahead of the action, the CWU union said.

READ MORE: ROYAL MAIL SLAMS UNION OVER ‘UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR’ BY STRIKERS

Discussions between the union and Royal Mail have broken down and members of the CWU Union (Communication Workers Union) are due to strike on 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24 December.

Last week customers were directed to post Christmas mail earlier than normal owing to the strikes.

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The union says its members want a pay increase that allows them to deal with the rising cost of living.

Members feel their administration wants to turn Royal Mail into a gig economy firm, alike Uber.

It warned of a “Christmas meltdown” in parcel and letter deliveries, and said millions of items of mail had been piling up beforehand of the strikes.

The union said its members were experiencing “massive real-terms pay cuts” and accused Royal Mail of wanting to “force through thousands of compulsory redundancies”.

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Dave Ward, CWU general secretary, said: “Royal Mail bosses are risking a Christmas meltdown because of their stubborn refusal to treat their employees with respect.

“Postal workers want to get on with serving the communities they belong to, delivering Christmas gifts and tackling the backlog from recent weeks.

“But they know their value, and they will not meekly accept the casualisation of their jobs, the destruction of their conditions and the impoverishment of their families.”

READ MORE: ROYAL MAIL WARNS OF THOUSANDS OF JOB CUTS AS IT SLIDES INTO THE RED

Due to the result of the strain in talks, a spokesman said, adding that Royal Mail managers are “refusing to budge with their ‘best and final offer”.

Royal Mail said the offer comprises a nine percent pay deal over 18 months and “a number of other concessions to terms and agreements”.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We spent three more days at [conciliation service] Acas this week to discuss what needs to happen for the strikes to be lifted.

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“In the end, all we received was another request for more pay, without the changes needed to fund the pay offer,” the spokesman said, adding that the union “knows full well” that the business is losing more than £1million a day.

He added the strike action had cost staff £1,200 each, saying: “The money allocated to the pay deal risks being eaten away by the costs of further strike action,”

The spokesman added that CWU was “deliberately holding Christmas to ransom for our customers, businesses and families across the country”.

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He said Royal Mail was “doing everything we can to deliver Christmas for our customers and settle this dispute” by continuing deliveries, but “the task becomes more challenging as Christmas nears”.

The disagreement began this summer after Royal Mail vetoed union demands for a pay rise that matched inflation – the rate at which prices rise – which is currently 11.1 percent.

Royal Mail has been fraught as it moves from its traditional business of delivering letters – which is no longer profitable – to the fast-growing world of parcel deliveries.

The company has proclaimed plans to cut up to 10,000 jobs.

Source: BBC News

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