Post office workers across Bristol are on strike today, joining 115,000 other members of the Communication Workers Union across the country in a fight for better pay.
A 2% pay rise was criticised by workers who said it fell far behind the current rate of inflation, which has reached 11.7% in some areas of the country and could reach 18% by next year.
There are picket lines outside 39 post offices and distribution centres across Bristol.
One striker on the picket line outside the Bristol central delivery office said: ‘I think we’ve got no choice but to take this action.’
The striker, a Royal Mail employee for three and a half years, said the 2% pay rise is ‘unacceptable’.
Royal Mail executive chairman Keith Williams has said talks with the CWU have failed because the union has failed to address the need for the Royal mail to ‘modernise’ to become competitive with other big delivery companies like DPD.
The striker said he accepts that Royal Mail needs to change but can’t accept what he described as ‘levelling down’.
He said for workers like him, Williams’ proposed changes would mean working more Sundays and greater uncertainty over shift patterns.
CWU members voted for the current strike action over pay with a 97.6% ballot on a 77% turnout. Further strikes will take place on Wednesday, August 31, Thursday, September 8 and Friday, September 9.
A separate ballot was cast on Wednesday, August 17, to begin a dispute over conditions. That ballot was passed by a 98.7% majority.
In a statement on Thursday, CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: ‘We can’t keep on living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks.
‘When Royal Mail bosses are raking in £758 million in profit and shareholders pocketing in excess of £400 million, our members won’t accept pleads of poverty from the company.
‘Postal workers won’t meekly accept their living standards being hammered by greedy business leaders who are completely out of touch with modern Britain.
‘They are sick of corporate failure getting rewarded again and again.’