Royal Mail owner driver plan enrages Union

Today Royal Mail proposed a new conditional pay-for-change offer to the Communication Workers Union which they say is worth 9% for CWU-grade colleagues. The CWU have laughed at the offer (which they say is 7% for only some employees and gone ballistic at the Royal Mail owner driver plan with they liken to Uber.

Royal Mail suggested a pay rise of 5.5% this financial year: made up of the 2% already paid (without Union acceptance), and a further 3.5% salary increase from the date the deal is agreed. This would be followed by another 1.5% from April 2023. They also offered a non-pensionable lump sum payment of 2% of this year’s pay. This pay offer is subject to changes to Sunday working, start times and flexible working.

Royal Mail made a loss of £219 million in the first half of the year. This once again demonstrates that the need for change at Royal Mail is urgent.

We have always been clear that the more we can change the business, the more we will be able to pay our people – both now and in the future. We urge the CWU leadership to accept the change and pay offer without delay, call off damaging strike action, and help us to transform the business. That is the only way to secure Royal Mail’s future and ensure job security for our people.

– Simon Thompson, CEO, Royal Mail

Calling it ‘unacceptable changes and a derisory 7% two-year pay offer that is well below projected inflation for both years’ and announcing that ‘Royal Mail have just declared war on your postie’, the Union say that a vote to take further strike action will be their next step.

This reaffirms the company’s whole approach of imposing change rather than negotiating it.

Not only is the offer not applicable to Parcelforce and fleet employees, but the company have confirmed that as of tomorrow, new entrants will be brought in on lower terms, and will be introducing owner-drivers into Royal Mail – a service that will be comparable to Uber.

There are also proposals to close mail centres, with wholesale site closures being mooted part of an overall programme, and changes to Sunday working.

Despite Simon Thompson confirming yesterday (Sunday 30th October) in writing that he was committed to ten days of negotiations, this offer was tabled without his attendance. The union is flagging this information as Royal Mail are breaking every imaginable protocol of negotiations


The plan for Royal Mail owner driver operators is really going to stoke the Union passions – the last thing they want is to see 10,000 Royal Mail employees lose their jobs to be replaced by self employed gig economy workers. The plan for a Royal Mail owner driver network would put them on a road to match many of their competitor’s operating practices and it would be relatively easy in the future to whittle down remaining staff and replace them with self employed contractors, happy (or at least willing) to work evenings and weekends with no pensions or sick pay to worry about.

Another bombshell landed after the pay offer coupled with the owner driver news. Royal Mail announced news from the Secretary of State that no further action is to be taken under the National Security and Investment Act 2021 in relation to the potential increase by VESA of its shareholding in the Company to more than 25%.

VESA probably want to increase their shareholding to such a level that they can engineer a break up of the group, leaving Royal Mail with International Distributions Services and flogging the profit making GLS. This going to raise tensions even more with the Union faced with the prospect of a company that’s decimated, can’t be bailed out by the group and is currently facing massive financial losses with Royal Mail owner drivers replacing postal workers.

One might almost think Royal Mail are out to see if they can break the Union and Posties entirely and forever by their actions. The prospect of fewer unionised employees is just the latest gambit – Every time the Union reacts, the next round of Royal Mail announcements appear almost purposely designed to ramp up tensions. They certainly don’t appear to be backing down.