Royal Mail has rejected claims it is planning to sack thousands of workers, insisting such statements are “designed to mislead and create fear and uncertainty” among their employees.
The company’s comments come after MPs debated the future of postal services, with Labour’s Rachael Maskell comparing Royal Mail to P&O Ferries and criticising the Government for standing by as the “next chapter of fire and hire plays out”.
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) staged a series of strikes last year in a bitter row over jobs, pay and conditions but fresh talks to resolve the long-running dispute started on Monday and will continue until January 20.
A Royal Mail spokesperson told the PA news agency: “We have written to the CWU on multiple occasions to correct the false allegations that Royal Mail is planning to ‘sack’ thousands of workers and wants to become ‘another courier company’.
“This is simply not true. The statements are designed to mislead and create fear and uncertainty amongst our employees.”
The spokesperson insisted Royal Mail has already announced that reductions in 10,000 full-time equivalent roles will be achieved through “natural attrition, reducing temporary workers, and a generous voluntary redundancy scheme which has been oversubscribed”.
They added: “Despite losing more than £1 million a day, and already offering a package that pays up to 40% more than our competitors, we have made a best and final pay offer worth up to 9%. This has been rejected by the CWU.
“Royal Mail is committed to reaching an agreement to resolve the current pay and change disputes to secure the company’s future and its employees’ long-term job security.
“On Friday, January 6, we announced that we would be recommencing facilitated talks through Acas, and these talks started this week.”
In Tuesday’s Westminster Hall debate, Ms Maskell said: “Royal Mail is being driven into the gig economy while senior managers are milking profit funnelling £560 million in payouts to shareholders.”
The MP for York Central added: “Royal Mail is wanting to break up the universal service obligation, sack 10,000 posties and be the next P&O (Ferries) as it recruits agency staff and owner drivers at the expense of the current workforce, further ripping up the pathway to change without having to give account.
“And this Government is standing by as this next chapter of fire and hire plays out.”
P&O Ferries sacked 786 staff members in March last year and promptly hired agency workers on lower wages and with different rota requirements.