Britain is facing the prospect of a winter of chaos with industrial action set to cripple railways, impede deliveries over Christmas and force students and school pupils to miss out on their education.
Royal Mail’s workers are set to inflict fresh misery on those planning to post gifts and cards in the run up to December 25.
The postal service said they lodged an enhanced pay offer with ‘extensive improvements’ following a period of negotiations with the Communication Workers’ Union, which was swiftly rejected by striking staff.
Simon Thompson, the chief executive of Royal Mail, has been embroiled in a public war of words with union barons as striking staff promise to ‘fight as long as it takes’.
The industrial action has been arranged by the Communication Workers’ Union amid a long-running feud with the company over pay, working conditions and redundancies.
Below, MailOnline shares all you need to know about the postal strikes that are set to hamper Christmas plans for millions:
Royal Mail’s workers are set to inflict fresh misery on those planning to post gifts and cards in the run up to December 25
Royal Mail postal strike dates in December:
More than 100,000 Royal Mail workers with the Communication Workers’ Union will stage a walkout across seven dates in December.
Strikes have been promised for the following dates in December:
- Thursday, December 1
- Friday, December 9
- Sunday, December 11
- Wednesday, December 14
- Thursday, December 15
- Friday, December 23
- Saturday, December 24
Why are Royal Mail service workers striking?
Strikes by British postal workers in the run up to Christmas began today after Royal Mail’s largest union rejected the latest pay offer from the company on Wednesday.
Employees are fearful of long term changes to the service, which include plans to introduce a seven-day-a-week parcel service to compete with giants such as Amazon and Evri.
Royal Mail has warned the company is bleeding £1million-a-day and faces a bleak future unless radical change is made.
Postal workers are walking out over jobs, pay and conditions after unions rejected Royal Mail’s 11th-hour bid to avert the next 48-hour strike.
The post and parcel business offered to increase wages by up to 9% over 18 months, instead of the previously planned two years, in its ‘best and final’ offer, as it urged workers to call off strikes.
In addition to their new pay offer, Royal Mail proposed a new profit share scheme for employees and improvements to the terms of its voluntary redundancy scheme.
When will I need to send post and presents by?
The industrial action is also set to cripple normal Christmas delivery slots, with Royal Mail warning customers they should ‘allow plenty of time’ this year.
For cards and presents that need to arrive by Christmas day, customers are advised to send 2nd class items by Monday, December 19 at the very latest.
The cut-off for 1st class packages and post will be Wednesday, December 21.
Sending items abroad will entail even more planning, with Royal Mail advising sending mail to family in the Armed Forces before December 3.
Strikes by British postal workers in the run up to Christmas began today after Royal Mail’s largest union rejected the latest pay offer from the company on Wednesday. Pictured: Striking staff outside a depot in London on Thursday, November 24
Will these strikes ruin Christmas?
With walkouts due to take place in the days running up to Christmas, including December 23 and 24, households have been warned they need to plan ahead.
With more than 115,000 workers set to join the picket lines, industrial action at Royal Mail promises to be one of the biggest walkouts of the year.
Disruption is likely and posties will not be delivering on strike days, with the exception of those sent via Special Delivery.
As such, late packages are unlikely to make it to their intended recipient before December 25.
The postal service has already apologised in advance to its customers, warning that it will be unable to ‘fully replace the daily efforts of our frontline workforce’.
During the last set of national strikes conduct by the CWU in August, the majority of Britain’s postal network was left severely diminished with only essential services and special deliveries running.
There is also the prospect of these strikes lingering well beyond 2022.
Dave Ward, general secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union, has urged the Government to intervene and claims ‘no union would accept the jobs, losses and terms’ proposed by Royal Mail.
With walkouts due to take place in the days running up to Christmas, including December 23 and 24, households have been warned they need to plan ahead
What other strikes will be happening in December?
Several other unions have been accused of plotting coordinated strikes ‘to cause maximum effect’ to British households this winter.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union have confirmed they will walkout between December 13 and 14 and then later in the month on December 16 and 17.
Britain’s transport network is set to be crippled in the run up to Christmas as a result, with RMT members at Network Rail and 14 train companies overwhelmingly voting in favour of the measures last week.
Civil servants within the Home Office, DEFRA, Border Force and Department for Transport are also set to walkout from mid-December after a long-running row over pay, jobs and pensions.
The Public and Commercial Services union confirmed industrial action will go ahead for a month after their demands for a 10 per cent pay hike were rejected.
The University and Colleges Union, which represents 58 higher education providers across the UK, will hold a three-day strike between December 1 and December 3 as part of their dispute over pay, pensions and contracts.
G4S security staff tasked with delivering cash and coins to banks and supermarkets will also strike in December, prompting Christmas shortage fears.
The GMB union’s strike is set to take place from 3am on Monday, December 5.
The Royal College of Nursing yesterday confirmed they proceed with industrial action over pay next month, but the dates are yet to be confirmed.