Striking postal workers in York say they’ve walked out because they fear the service could be lost forever.
Postmen and women represented by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) walked out out for their fifth day of December action today (Friday).
Royal Mail, which the CWU says has offered a pay increase of 2%, called the action “a cynical attempt to hold Christmas to ransom”.
Barry Ratcliffe, who works in the collections department at York, was on strike. He was on the CWU picket line outside York’s Royal Mail sorting office on Leeman Road today.
He said he didn’t want to go on strike, and he used to enjoy his job, but “everything’s collapsed”.
“We’re out on strike mainly because of terms and conditions. It’s got to do with money as well, obviously. But terms and conditions are main things that we want to get right,” he said.
“They want to get rid of all the letters – no letters to come from Royal Mail.
“Old people rely on letters. Birthday cards, Christmas cards – they don’t want to go on the internet.
“The strike is to secure the service which, I’m afraid, I can’t see it lasting much longer.
“I think in six months’ time, you’ll be lucky if its still here.”
He said they’d had a lot of public backing for the strikes.
“We’ve had brilliant support. The amount of people who have come to see us, given us donations and gifts – they’re all for us, they support everything that we’re doing.
“We put ourselves out to help the pubic – just like we did in Covid.”
Barry acknowledged that the strikes this month had disrupted Christmas for many people and businesses.
“We really do apologise,” he said. “We don’t want this at all. We want to do our jobs.
“We want to go out there and get people what they need – the parcels, the presents, everything.
“But we’ve come this far and we’re not going to give up now.”
He criticised Simon Thompson, the chief executive of the Royal Mail, who got a salary worth £753,000 this year, including a “short-term” bonus of £142,000.
“He’s got nothing to lose. He’s upset everybody,” he said.
“I think what he’s going to end up doing is, he’s going to ask us to renew our contracts, and terms and conditions and salary. So that means if we don’t renew it, we’ve got to find another job.”
Barry said they would be fighting on, and there were likely to be more strikes next month.
“It’s a desperate situation. We’re just sorry to upset everybody. We just want to go about our jobs, do a day’s work and go home.”