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Royal Mail festive “truce” – for now

20 December 2023

CWU workers on strike in an earlier dispute, London, December 2022. Photo Workers.

Royal Mail workers have called off industrial action due over the Christmas and New Year period after progress in talks with the company. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said it would call a “truce” over the holiday period.

In a joint statement both parties committed to detailed talks early in January. The dispute over working arrangements for Customer Experience teams is just one of several disputes between the union and the employer over the past couple of years.


Royal Mail, privatised in 2013, is committed to deliver letters to every address in Britain, 6 days a week. It has questioned whether that service obligation is sustainable: it would prefer to concentrate on its profitable parcels business. The company has been regularly criticised – and fined – for missing postal delivery targets.

This time last year Royal Mail suggested that striking CWU members would mean people did not get Christmas cards on time. But this year, a Sunday Times investigation found that packages were being prioritised over letters. The company denied that it was their policy.

Dave Ward, CWU general secretary, thought otherwise. He said “It is clear from what postal workers are saying and what customers are seeing that on the ground parcels are being prioritised over letters across the UK.” He said that his members were upset not to be giving a proper service to customers.