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Royal Mail pay settled

25 April 2023

Royal Mail workers on strike, Walthamstow, London, August 2022. Photo Workers.

Royal Mail postal delivery workers have settled their complex pay struggle after 11 months of well supported industrial action. The Communications Workers Union finally reached an agreement on 15 April 2023 that it will put to members, recommending acceptance.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward called it “an agreement that can stand the test of time, that moves us forward and moves the company forward...after the most bitter, most intense and high-risk dispute this union's ever been involved in.”

‘Workers have been defending the universal postal delivery.’

Along with pay and conditions, CWU workers have been defending the universal postal delivery against the privatised company, which even threatened to put it into government administration if a deal was not agreed.


The agreement is a compromise – a 10 per cent pay increase and a lump sum of £500. But this has to reach back to April 2022 and extend through to April 2025. In addition the workforce will receive a fifth of Royal Mail's profits, should it return to profit.

The CWU has forced the company to abandon the introduction of owner-drivers and reduce agency workers. Those currently employed will not have compulsory Sunday working. An independent inquiry will be established for suspended or sacked workers.

But delivery start times will move to after 7am and there will be new seasonal working patterns – all to serve the needs of the parcels business, the profitable part of Royal Mail. The CWU say the company want to keep that, and abandon the unprofitable universal letter delivery service, which they are legally obliged to provide.


The CEO of Royal Mail, Simon Thompson, was hauled up before the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on 17 January. He was questioned about Royal Mail's prioritisation of parcels over letters. In the committee report, chairman Darren Jones said, “We've concluded that senior leaders have allowed a ‘systemic failure’ of its statutory obligation to deliver letters six days a week and we've referred Royal Mail to Ofcom for formal investigation.”

Fellow CWU members working for the Post Office – in admin and supply as well counter staff –have also settled their long-running dispute after several strikes and other industrial action. They voted to accept a 9 per cent plus cash settlement by a 94 per cent majority.

CWU acting deputy general secretary Andy Furey said, “It's great to see such an overwhelming endorsement of the negotiated agreement....”