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Royal Mail talks with union break down as more strikes planned

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theguardian.com

Royal Mail’s row with workers over pay and conditions has escalated, as talks broke down after five months without an agreement.The company said despite the negotiations, including three dispute resolution procedures, no agreement had been reached with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).More than 115,000 postal workers voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over working conditions, and three strikes took place in August and September, with two more planned for 30 September and 1 October.The company said it made a loss of £92m in the first quarter, equivalent to £1m a day, and “needs to adapt much faster to adapt to changing customer demands in a highly competitive market”.

It added: “The CWU has blocked any meaningful discussion on the change agenda the company has set out, and has not put forward any viable alternatives that will fund further pay increases.”Royal Mail has written to the union to propose that talks should be taken to Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, in a further attempt to find a resolution.

The company will also review or serve notice on a number of historic agreements and policies which, it said, “are currently being used by the CWU to frustrate transformation”.Royal Mail has said it has offered a 5.5% pay rise for CWU workers, its biggest increase in years.

However, annual consumer price inflation ran at 9.9% in August and is forecast to rise further.The CWU hit back, describing the proposed changes as an “all out attack” on the union and “the beginning of their plan to make Royal Mail Group a gig economy standard employer”.

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