Why Royal Mail is making 6,000 staff redundant

Struggling postal service warns that more jobs may be axed as losses mount amid strike action

Royal Mail workers and members of the CWU on the picket line
Royal Mail workers and Communication Workers Union (CWU) members on picket line outside a London post office
(Image credit: Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Up to 6,000 Royal Mail staff are to be made redundant by next August under newly announced plans to axe a total of 10,000 jobs.

Royal Mail owner International Distributions Services (IDS) blamed the cutbacks on the “impact of industrial action, delays in delivering agreed productivity improvements and lower parcel volumes”. The company, which has a total workforce of around 140,000 across the UK, also announced a predicted annual operating loss of £350m.

At least 4,000 jobs will be cut “through natural attrition, for example by not replacing workers who leave”, the BBC reported. But Royal Mail chief executive Simon Thompson warned that while “we will do all we can to avoid compulsory redundancies”, workers’ decision to continue strike action “regrettably increases the risk of further headcount reductions”.

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The postal service provider suffered a £219m operating loss in the first half of its financial year, “tumbling from a £235m profit a year earlier”, and “said this included a roughly £70m hit from three days of strike action”, LBC reported. The jobs cuts were announced a day after workers represented by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) launched new strike action that “is expected to take place over a further 19 days, including key dates in the build-up to Christmas”, the site added.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said that postal workers were facing “the biggest ever assault on their jobs, terms and conditions in the history of Royal Mail”. The job cuts were the result of “gross mismanagement and a failed business agenda” by bosses, he claimed.

CWU members rejected a 2% wage rise offer earlier this year, “as well as an additional 3.5% increase dependent on workers agreeing to certain conditions such as mandatory working on Sunday”, said the BBC.

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