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Unite vows to fight Royal Mail's plans to axe 700 jobs

UNITE vowed to fight Royal Mail’s plans to axe 700 jobs today as the threat of strike action looms large.

The announcement, affecting managerial positions, came after Communication Workers Union (CWU) members unanimously approved a strike ballot over Post Office pay freezes on Monday.

Unite said that its members were being made the scapegoat for bosses’ failure to maintain deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic which could see fines from regulator Ofcom.

The union, which represents thousands of Royal Mail staff, said that the firm’s restructuring could impact up to 900 of its delivery division members and a strike ballot of its own could soon follow.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Coming on top of a record turn-around in the company’s fortunes, which resulted in the board handing over a £400 million giveaway to certain shareholders, this is cold comfort for when postal employees were being badly hit by coronavirus.

“Now is the time for the top executives to reconsider their proposals.”

The firm confirmed it had started consulting unions on the cuts which are designed to “streamline operational management to improve focus on performance at a local level,” it claimed. 

The changes would be achieved “through natural turnover, redeployment and voluntary redundancy, wherever possible,” it suggested. 

After confirming that delegates at the CWU’s postal executive committee had formally endorsed an industrial action ballot, the union’s Andy Furey slammed refusals to raise pay as a “downright disgrace.”

The union and Post Office management held talks with arbitration service Acas earlier this month to resolve the dispute, but bosses have refused to budge, CWU charged. 

Mr Furey said: “Make no mistake, our members are united and very, very angry.

“Our members will fight for a decent and fair pay deal.”

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