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Business Cardiff South Wales

Over 100 Royal Mail and BT employees go on strike in Cardiff

POSTAL and telecommunications workers from across south Wales have gathered in Cardiff in a protest over pay. 

The strike coincides with the first of two days of BT and Openreach strike action, as well as the first of 18 days of Royal Mail walkouts.

Union representatives from the Communication Workers Union and other unions addressed the crowd gathered in Cardiff’s Central Square.

One representative said: “We can’t accept it and will not accept it. The system is rigged against working people. BT, the RMT, teachers, nurses… need to work together.”

One man attending the protest claimed that workers were having to resort to food banks, including one in the BT buildings. 

He said:”It’s important to send a message to BT and Openreach that we won’t stand by with this corporate greed and the rich getting richer. 

“BT are increasing their prices. It’s not like they’re not making money; they’re just distributing it to the wrong people.

“We’ve got workers having to use food banks, including ones in the BT buildings. They call it a community pantry but it’s a food bank.”

The BT strikes will also go ahead on Monday, October 24. There will be 18 days of Royal Mail strikes in total, lasting until December 2. 

The upcoming Royal Mail strike dates are: 

  • October 25
  • November 2
  • November 3
  • November 4
  • November 8
  • November 9
  • November 10
  • November 14
  • November 15
  • November 16
  • November 23
  • November 24
  • November 25
  • November 28
  • November 30
  • December 1
  • December 2

Another BT employee said: “If BT don’t come to the negotiating table there’ll be more action and longer strike days. Its unacceptable that they aren’t talking to the CWU, a sign of arrogance and neglect.”

The CWU has accused Royal Mail chief executive, Simon Thompson, of ignoring talks aimed at avoiding strike action.

According to the union, relations between workers and employers have deteriorated in recent weeks, with Royal Mail serving legal notice that it was withdrawing from existing agreements with the CWU and threatening to cut 10,000 jobs following strike action last week.

Following the intention to consult on up to 6,000 redundancies. Mr Thomas said: “I regret that we are announcing these job losses. We will do all we can to avoid compulsory redundancies and support everyone affected.

“We have announced today losses of £219 million in the first half of the year. Each strike day weakens our financial situation. The CWU’s decision to choose damaging strike action over resolution regrettably increases the risk of further headcount reductions.”

A spokesperson from Royal Mail said: “On Friday, 14 October, we announced losses of £219 million in the first half of the year. This once again demonstrates the urgent need for Royal Mail to change.

“Further strike action would materially increase our losses for the full year and may necessitate further operational restructuring and job losses. Four weeks have passed since we invited the CWU to enter talks with Acas to resolve the change and pay dispute.

“We once again urge the CWU to join us in Acas talks. This is the only way to reach a resolution and secure Royal Mail’s future and jobs for our people.

“We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimise delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”

A spokesperson from the BT Group said: “We know that our colleagues are dealing with the impacts of high inflation and, whilst we respect the right of colleagues to take industrial action, we are profoundly disappointed that the CWU is prepared to take this reckless course of action by including 999 services in strikes.

“We will do whatever it takes to protect 999 services – redeploying our people to the most important priority is a normal part of BT Group operations.

“We made the best pay award we could in April and we have held discussions with the CWU to find a way forward from here. In the meantime, we will continue to work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected”.

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