Postal workers from Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire have joined more than 100,000 postal workers across the UK in walking out in a dispute over pay.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said its members were taking industrial action for a “dignified, proper pay rise” after they voted in favour by 97.6% in a ballot.

The strike last Friday is being followed by further stoppages on Wednesday August 31, Thursday September 8 and Friday September 9.

Speaking following the picket at the Royal Mail Delivery Office in Narberth, Cllr Marc Tierney said: “I was happy to support CWU members on the picket line in #Narberth earlier this morning as post men and women across the UK begin the first of four days of action over pay and conditions at Royal Mail.

“The public hugely values the role our posties play in both the job they do but also by being part of the fabric of our communities.

“Our postal workers were counted as heroes through the pandemic, yet have failed to see any real reward in their pay all whilst the Chief Executive received a bonus of £140,000 in a total pay and benefits package worth £753,000 earlier this year which is 23 times the amount the average postie earns.”

The union said management imposed a 2% pay rise on employees, yet they were classified as key workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In an economic climate where inflation looks set to soar to 18% by January 2023, the imposition will lead to a dramatic reduction in workers’ living standards,” said a union spokesman.

Western Telegraph: Dave Ward, general Secretary of the Communication Workers Union (James Manning/PA)Dave Ward, general Secretary of the Communication Workers Union (James Manning/PA)

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “We have seen a tremendous outpouring of workers’ unity in villages, towns and cities across the country.

“There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve.

“We can’t keep on living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks.

“When Royal Mail bosses are raking in £758 million in profit and shareholders pocketing in excess of £400 million, our members won’t accept pleads of poverty from the company.

"Our members worked miracles during the pandemic and know full well what they are worth. They are fighting for a no-strings, real-terms pay rise - something they are fully entitled to."

CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger added: “Postal workers won’t meekly accept their living standards being hammered by greedy business leaders who are completely out of touch with modern Britain.

“They are sick of corporate failure getting rewarded again and again.

“Royal Mail’s leadership have lost the dressing room – and unless they make efforts to get real on discussing a pay rise that postal workers deserve, serious disruption will continue.

“Our members worked miracles during the pandemic and know full well what they are worth.

“They are fighting for a no-strings, real-terms pay rise – something they are fully entitled to.

“Those managing Royal Mail Group are treating our members with contempt by imposing such a minimal amount.

“Royal Mail Group have failed to recognise the strength of feeling and have clearly lost the dressing room on pay, so they have left us with no choice but to fight.

“Our members deserve a pay rise that rewards their fantastic achievements in keeping the country connected during the pandemic, but also helps them keep up during this current economic crisis.

“We won’t be backing down until we get just that.”

Western Telegraph:

Royal Mail said it has “well-developed contingency plans” to minimise disruption, focused on getting mail delivery back to normal as quickly as possible after strike action.

We are losing £1 million a day, and we need to change what we are doing to fix the situation and protect jobs.

This change is also needed to support the pay package we have offered to CWU grade colleagues, worth up to 5.5%

The company said that on days when strike action is taking place, it will deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked24 parcels as possible, prioritising the delivery of Covid test kits and medical prescriptions.

Customers are advised to post items as early as possible in advance of the strike dates, adding that collections will be less frequent on strike days.

The union is also in dispute with Royal Mail over efficiencies.

A company spokesperson said: “We are losing £1 million a day, and we need to change what we are doing to fix the situation and protect jobs.

“This change is also needed to support the pay package we have offered to CWU grade colleagues, worth up to 5.5%.

“This is the biggest increase we have offered for many years and the CWU have rejected it. This would add around £230 million to Royal Mail’s annual people costs when the business is already loss-making.”

Western Telegraph:

The union said it will be the biggest strike of the summer, following walkouts by workers in other sectors such as rail, telecoms and the legal profession.

A Royal Mail spokesperson added: “Tomorrow’s CWU strike thrusts Royal Mail into the most uncertain time of its 500-year history. It is putting jobs at risk and making pay rises less affordable. We are losing £1 million a day. We must change to fix the situation and protect high quality jobs.

“The change we need is the change the public demand of us. They want more and bigger parcels delivered the next day – including Sundays – and more environmentally friendly options.

“They want this at a competitive price, with great quality of service. We cannot cling to outdated working practices, ignoring technological advancements and pretending that Covid has not significantly changed what the public wants from Royal Mail.

“While our competitors work seven days a week, delivering until 10pm to meet customer demand, the CWU want to work fewer hours, six days a week, starting and finishing earlier.

“Their plans to transform Royal Mail come with a £1 billion price tag, are predicated on a wholly unrealistic revival in letter writing, and prevent Royal Mail from growing, and remaining competitive, in a fast-moving industry.

“The CWU’s vision for Royal Mail would create a vicious spiral of falling volumes, higher prices, bigger losses, and fewer jobs.

“Our future is as a parcels business. We must adapt old ways of working designed for letters to a world increasingly dominated by parcels, and we must act fast.

“We want to protect well-paid, permanent jobs long-term and retain our place as the industry leader on pay, terms and conditions. That is in the best interests of Royal Mail and all its employees.

“We apologise to our customers, and the public for the inconvenience the CWU’s strike action will cause. We have offered to meet the CWU numerous times in recent weeks, but they declined each invitation, preferring to spend their time on the political agenda of the UK trade union movement.

“We remain ready to talk with the CWU to try and avert damaging industrial action and prevent significant inconvenience for customers. But any talks must be about both change and pay.”