Postal services in Birmingham will be disrupted by more strike action today as a bitter row continues between the Royal Mail and its drivers.
HGV drivers in the city are to walk out for 24 hours as part of an ongoing dispute over working conditions, threatening bulk deliveries for businesses across the region.
Around 80 drivers based at the Mail Centre and 100 at Coventry will join a protest by 1,500 co-workers which union leaders claim will cause major disruption to business mail.
The 24-hour strike from 4am is the latest in a series of one-day stoppages over alleged “dictatorial” management and the imposition of new terms and conditions.
Lee Barron, Midlands regional secretary for the Communication Workers Union, warned that the dispute was set to intensify into a national stoppage in the autumn. “We have offered management a no-strike deal for three months and then one for two weeks, which is ground-breaking for us, but they seem hell-bent on confrontation and are calling it delaying tactics,” he said.
“They are not taking into account people’s current working hours and shift patterns. Their current strategy is alienating and punishing the workforce.”
Mr Barron said the drivers’ stoppage would hit the delivery of hundreds of thousands of items to Royal Mail depots across the region.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We condemn the CWU for striking locally over much-needed modernisation and change which has already been successfully implemented by our people in the majority of offices and is working well.
“The changes are all covered by the 2007 agreement on pay and modernisation, which the CWU signed in the presence of the TUC but on which they are now reneging in a way that clearly hurts our customers and our people and damages Royal Mail.”
The Birmingham Post reported earlier this month that Royal Mail drivers in Birmingham and Coventry carried out a 24-hour walkout calling for “much-needed modernisation and change”.
Meanwhile, postal workers across the country, including in Stoke-on-Trent, carried out strike action last week in an ongoing dispute over pay, jobs and services. The union has announced plans to ballot all its postal-worker members for a national strike in September, threatening the worst disruption to mail deliveries for two years.
The CWU’s deputy general secretary, Dave Ward, has previously accused Royal Mail management of “trying to crush the British postal service” with a policy of cuts to services, hours and jobs.