Royal Mail workers have endured ‘roller coaster’ few years, says union

Royal Mail workers have endured a “roller coaster” few years as a bitter dispute over pay and conditions has been followed by speculation over the postal group’s future, a union leader has said.

Dave Ward, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said the Royal Mail needed a “change of direction” as he criticised the company’s current model.

It comes as Royal Mail’s owner, International Distributions Services, rejected a £3.1 billion takeover approach from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, who is already the largest shareholder.

Analysts expect another bid to be made.

Mr Ward, speaking at the union’s annual conference in Bournemouth, said: “It has been a roller coaster for employees in the past few years, going from being key workers during the pandemic, then involved in the most brutal industrial dispute I have ever seen, a debate about the quality of service and now a takeover bid.”

Mr Ward said handing over the ownership of one of the UK’s most prestigious organisations to a foreign investor “cannot be right”, but he added: “Neither is the current model or direction of the company.

“The Royal Mail needs a new ownership and governance model that builds a postal service for the workers and customers and not one built solely focused on shareholder payouts and driving down the service and the terms and conditions of workers.”

The CWU is also campaigning against any attempt to reduce the frequency of mail deliveries.

Royal Mail has proposed cutting second-class letter deliveries to every other weekday after regulator Ofcom suggested the company could reduce the number of delivery days.