U.K. buyers and sellers might experience slower mail delivery times this week as thousands of Royal Mail workers strike to protest job cuts.
Walkouts began Wednesday at 5 a.m. and will last until Friday night. A national protest is reportedly planned for July 17.
The Communication Workers Union, the union mail workers belong to, decided to strike after Royal Mail made cuts that prevent modernization and break a national agreement, the union says.
So far about 400,000 jobs in the postal service have been cut in the past few years, according to reports.
"Postal workers cannot continue with the levels of cuts on hours, jobs and wages by aggressive management, which we are currently experiencing," notes Martin Walsh, the union's representative in London.
In reports, the union says too many mail carriers are being let go without increasing mechanization or revamping delivery schedules, which is "intolerable" and prevents good service. Royal Mail opposes the strikes, saying the postal service was just asking the union to honor agreements on modernization and changes in working practices.
Royal Mail has seen a 10 percent decline in annual postal volumes, Bloomberg reports. London, specifically, has seen a drop of 20 percent compared to two years ago.
"Industrial action will not modernize Royal Mail," a Royal Mail spokesman tells BBC News. "It will simply disrupt the service, annoy customers and lead to an even greater loss of business, leaving Royal Mail less able to protect full-time jobs and the Universal Service in the competitive marketplace."
The CWU organized an earlier round of strikes in mid-June.
"The ball is in Royal Mail's court," Sian Jones, a spokeswoman for the CWU, tells Bloomberg. "We'd like them to come forward and offer meaningful talks."
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