Royal mail staff have begun to return to work following negotiations between their employers and the union.
The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) said they had reached an agreement that was adequate for it to recommend to its members to end the strike.
More than 20,000 workers in London and a dozen regional centres had been on the unofficial strike as a protest against working conditions.
Post boxes had been sealed to prevent the backlog of mail from growing.
Did you agree with the postal workers' decision to strike? Have you been affected by it?
This debate is now closed. The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:
These strikes have affected so many people and businesses. If the strikes are illegal why are not all those who partook in them sacked and allow the vacancies to be filled by people who want to work? That is if the vacancies really need filling. I have no problem with those with a legitimate grievance going through proper channels
Geoff, Banbury, England
Whether is disruptive or not, the amount of people saying strikes should be banned, and that people should be thankful they have jobs is astounding. It is everyone's right to strike if manager are bringing in policies without proper discussion or thought. Imagine is a workplace said all women working for them had to give up maternity rights for example, there would be uproar...now imagine not being able to demonstrate against it. Sometimes striking is the only tool workers have in order to make people listen.
Helen Kreissl, UK
I support the postal workers even though I have been inconvenienced myself through this strike action. I admire them for having the courage to assert their right to basic dignity against a dictatorial management.
Stephen, London, UK
I have no sympathy whatsoever. What have the small businesses done that we deserve to be inconvenienced? If only one cheque is held up by the strike it could be the making or breaking of some small companies. And the nerve of the Royal Mail; the first bill I received in the post today was a demand for payment from them for postal services!
Barbara Strevens, UK
The issues at RM will not be resolved until the government and the country decide what they want RM to be. Government and management want a money making business. Yet when RM management try to run it as such with large scale closures in loss making areas (such as post offices etc.)customers and individual MPs scream about service and the effect on local communities.
We are all affected by the strike, directly and indirectly. When the Royal Mail makes a loss, the cash comes from taxpayers so we all suffer. As for privatisation, anyone who thinks that the only way to make is through cost-cutting needs to read a few basic economics books. How about increasing productivity, increasing revenue and opening up new markets? No business survives through cost-cutting alone. Wealth can be created in hundreds of ways that don't affect the number of people employed in a business or how much they get paid.
I don't fully understand why the postal workers are striking, and I am not sure they know either. I am unemployed and looking for work. I have not received applications because of this dispute. They have jobs I don't they should get on and work.
Okay they have a valid point, not much money, and lots of work. But to do what they did in London was out of order! It's had a huge knock on effect through out RM and all of the areas affected by this action. It should not happen again.
Do I have any sympathy for royal mail for disrupting my post? You got to be kidding. I had two job applications forms that I posted on Tuesday, when the closing date for one of them was 30.10.03 and the other was for 03.11.03. Thank you very much for that. And I'm now relying on the internet to pay my bills. If it wasn't for the internet I would be suing.
Yes, our business is severely affected. We now demand a choice, a free market choice, as to who can deliver our business mail. These backward unions, with this illegal action, have held our business & our jobs to ransom for the last time. Business demands a choice now!!!!
While some comments preach sympathy for the postal workers, I find it appalling. As a small business this is close to ruining us. The irony is that it is not lack of orders which would normally send a company under but postal staff. Strike action means that a nation will suffer beyond belief for someone else's pay packet and then they expect everyone else to be sympathetic! I will not benefit from a pay increase after they have gone through this idiotic process, but will be lucky if I am still working.
Yes, the strike is inconvenient and it does cause hardship but I have great sympathy with workers who work in all weathers for a pittance. No worker goes on strike and loses pay just for the hell of it.
Richard Cotton, London, UK
I am sick of these strikes. Strikes should not be allowed in the modern world and particularly in the monopoly areas. Only demonstration should be allowed and that to in the weekend. If someone is not happy in a job they should go and find another Job where they are happy.
Narendra Rath, Scotland, UK
I work in one of the affected areas. I have already paid for several mail-order items adding up to a value of about £300. My job is only part-time so I cannot afford to lose any money. I'm beginning to get worried about my mail-order items. I don't know where they are. The people in my street haven't had mail for a week. I'm all for good pay and working conditions and all that, but can't the managers and the workers compromise? We hear of 'talks' but if you read the small print, nothing's changed. Why can't they just come to an agreement and stick to it?
This strike is devastating for my business - as I sell many 1000's of gift vouchers over the Christmas period all via the phone and internet - no post means no business! Just glad these illegal strikers can sleep at night, as I can't.
Tim Strudwick, UK
I have no sympathy for the striking postmen and women, they should be thankful they have got jobs, in what is now a very difficult business, they should stop there winging and do there jobs properly. The managers have every right to spy on there workers if there not doing there jobs properly, it's the same no matter where you work, if you don't do you job you get the sack, that's the way it should be with unofficial strikes.
They are biting the hands that feed them - customers'. It's incredible for a regulated monopoly to be allowed to have strikes. Let alones in which the union claims not to be involved, yet is trying to negotiate their outcome. Royal Mail should sack the wildcat strikers and be grateful if the regulator lets them keep their monopoly beyond the end of 2003
Yet another shining example of how strikes adversely affect millions of people who are not directly involved in the dispute! It's disgusting that strikes of ANY kind in ANY sector are still allowed. Striking is the worst kind of self-centeredness there is and those who continue to make others lives a misery should be sacked and made to do community work for a pittance. Millions of us will probably never earn as much as they do but we don't take it out on the nation!
As an ex Royal Mail employee I can see both sides to this. I sympathise with the Posties as most take home less than £180 per week for a six day week, and Royal Mail UK made a very large profit last year and not a big loss On the other hand the business is still in the dark ages but if they give the Posties a decent wage maybe they won't be so against change.
This has been a fine example of management belligerence. It has been very clear from the words and actions of the management that they have done their level best to pick a major dispute with members of the CWU with no doubt the principal objective being to break the union Thatcher style. The so-called 'wildcat' response of the union members has been their best defence against this. It has been a widespread and popular revolt against management bullying and their intimidation (spying etc). I applaud the CWU members wholeheartedly.
Steve Campbell, England
I have been seriously affected by the strike, and I feel this is a direct result of privatisation, read - zero responsibility profit making. There should be a minister for posts and telegraphs and he/she should take personal responsibility. Just like there should be a minister for railways who MUST resign if/when there is a derailment or accident. Someone has to accept responsibility. At some point in time.
G Sarin, UK
Having a fair workers' rights system in this country is one of the reasons that a lot of business choose to go overseas for their labour force. Costs are raised partly because of strike action and the treat of strike action making companies pay over inflated wages, emergency payments and compensation.
Despite a ballot to the contrary in September, a minority of postal workers feel that they have the right to hold the country to ransom, ruining small businesses seemingly without care or conscience. I will certainly bear that in mind over the coming months as I find alternative ways to send my correspondence, Christmas greetings etc that do not involve furthering their employment. As a mere individual, with no union behind me, that is the best I can do to show my disgust.
Ian Turner, UK
Because of the postal strike, I had to go to a shop to collect an item, rather than it be posted. This meant a lengthy trip. Also, during the trip a car ran into the back of us. I can understand the postal workers concerns and reasons why they wanted to strike. However, in this day and age, the only people affected by strikes are customers. Strikes accomplish very little.
Jane Royston, UK
In a week which I was waiting for a number of important pieces of mail, my service was disrupted. It has cost me a lot of money and time to try and get around the problems. Seems like the customers weren't thought of at all!
Why do people not listen to or read the facts. I have been a postman for 20 years and proud to provide a "service". This dispute was not about pay or London Weighting, it was about management trying to force through changes in "TERMS AND CONDITIONS". They look at Royal Mail as a business instead of a service. Their goal is to make savings and the quickest way they can achieve this is by imposing new conditions. No one has asked the managers like Crozier and Leighton, why if the business is in such financial disarray, did they get fantastic bonus's and why every manager in the business got between £800 £1400 bonus just several weeks ago? Go ask 'em.
Rick Jewell, UK
Are Royal Mail going to compensate people for the late payment charges they will have incurred due to not receiving their bills? Not only am I waiting for various items including a debit card to be delivered, but now I have to fork out extra for the privilege... thanks RM!
This has taught me one thing - never again will I use Royal Mail. If I can't email it, I'll send it by fax, but my apologies to my friend in Australia who will not get her divorce papers in time... I'm sure the judge will understand when she tells him she's waiting for papers from the UK, a country which has terminally ill essential services.
I'm 24, fresh out into the big wide world of work and my internet business has been operating for just two months. I rely on the postal service to ship out over a hundred orders (and growing) every single day. Where I live, in Manchester, the postal service do a fantastic job day in, day out. My business has been affected by packages not being delivered on time, but if the end result of all this is a more modern and effective postal service which so far has been promised but with little evidence of success, then so be it.
I've sent winter clothes at great expense to my daughter going to school in your country. Now she is cold, I can't get my money back and your country has no control. What a shame and a great shame on you for not doing something about this. There is nothing "royal" about your country.
Daniel Bulluck, USA
Thank goodness, it's all over bar the shouting, and we can get back to normal. As an employee of RM recent events have made me cringe. I hope people will forgive those responsible for the strike. I do not believe in industrial action under any circumstances; I am a veteran of the Royal Air Force, and as you may know, the military are not permitted to strike. If some folk think that they are hard done to, they should try serving their country in the armed forces.
Paul Foster, England
I think I can see both sides of the argument, the public sector have an abysmal record in the treatment of their employees, the public need to have a reliable postal system. I have been an employer for 25 years and I gasp with amazement at how some of our public sector workers are treated. On the other hand I have a few parcels stuck in the post and I will be making claims when they have not been delivered in 14 days.
Richard Clark, UK
I believe the Postal workers have a right to strike especially as the management have been using bully tactics to try and get what they want. The way the management handled the situation only escalated the action. Its about time things changed for the better for many working class people, without us the country would come to a standstill.
Glynis Nester, England
It is a shame for those who worked for the Royal Mail to perform such an action to raise their voice over their payroll dispute. Postal system in a country is the back bone of a country's economy. It will also symbolise the country's reputation. This postal strike has delayed most of my shipments sent to my customer in UK. Especially shipment that goes to Glasgow Scotland. I hope the people know that if this strike continues, it will not make the situation any better for anyone. They will not only lost the future for Royal Mail, but also the future for their country, United Kingdom.
K S Chuah, Malaysia
At present I am waiting for at least four parcels to be delivered to my home as well as god knows how many letters! The postal workers should consider the public. It is the public that suffer from these strikes. I have no sympathy for the postal workers what so ever! Maybe they should consider what they are going to do once they force the Royal Mail to close, then they will not have jobs to moan about!
Debbie, London, UK
I sent an important letter to my brother in India on Tuesday. The post office on Greeford Road didn't tell me about the strike. Otherwise I could have sent this important letter by courier service. My brother has still not received my letter.
Farooq Khan, UK
Postal workers will be getting no sympathy from me. Do you think my local postal worker (who really didn't want to strike at all) is going to knock on my door and apologise for the fact that I didn't get a very important letter because he was "on strike"? I don't think so. Why did they strike? Because they could, just like the train drivers and underground workers they know that going on strike affects a large number of people and makes their bosses more inclined to agree to their terms. I think it's about time we stopped allowing this bullying tactic to get them what they want. If they aren't happy to work for the wage they get, I sure think that there are a lot of unemployed people out there who would be. Enough is enough, this kind of thing has to stop!
Claire Whitbourne, UK
This is like a return to the dark ages, look how far it got the miners, everyone has rights, but there is a legal way to strike and this is not it. This is blackmail, as there is no real alternative to Royal Mail. Why are the government not stepping in?
Dave Clarke, UK
It's high time that the Royal Mail was privatised and opened up completely to competition. There are many alternatives to the Royal Mail, however, until the monopoly is broken, small businesses and the average man, woman and child in the street will suffer at the hands of such a backward organisation. Whether strike action is official or unofficial it is wrong - the right to strike is wrong - the disgraceful attitude demonstrated by public sector workers is wrong - WE, the British public, have a right to a good level of service with every single public service available.
Iain Simpson, UK
To all those striking postmen and women out there, I have every sympathy with your wish for better working conditions/pay etc...
But for goodness sake, think about the people you are REALLY affecting - the general public, who play no part in your current plight.
Hamid, London, UK
I say that they should think themselves lucky that they aren't working for the emergency services or a trucker as they have the real reason to go on strike.
Andy Rossiter, United Kingdom, Leeds
The firm I work for handles post for a number of charities, and we are staffed to handle around 5000 items a day. If we don't get some post on Monday I expect around 15 of us will have to be laid off until the post returns to normal. If we don't get some post soon, I worry for the company's very survival. I'm not impressed at the lost income for the charities, I'm even less impressed that I may need to find a new job very soon.
Tom Vaughan, UK
Disgraceful. I know many people who earn less than the postal workers, and they would jump at the chance to work there. It is sheer greed. Holding the public to ransom will not earn them any sympathy.
My comment is for Brian: I think it is about time you woke and realised what a good wage you are on. I work at the airport for 48 hours a week I have to work 12 hour shifts some as early as 3am and as late as 11pm. I hardly see my children and husband and I have to work Christmas and New Year. I come out with around £220 a week. I would gladly work your hours and wouldn't moan at being paid less. I realise that I cannot strike as this is not only an inconvenience to me put to the hundreds of thousands of passengers that travel through the airport everyday.
As a postman I understand how many people may feel frustrated when we strike but you must see our side. I am sure the present dispute is not entirely about London, as postmen across the country are mortified by the present state of our company.
Within the management structure there is NO pride. We, the staff, are currently being treated appallingly. Any one who thinks otherwise should try walking around for 3 1/2 hours in driving rain; five days a week for £210 take home pay. Its a disgrace and we are standing up to try and protect a service we the postman proudly provide to the public.
Brian Statham, England
No disrespect to Brian, but £210 a week for only working 17.5 hours is pretty damn good - it works out at about £12 an hour! I would love a job that pays that well. You cannot seriously expect to earn a wage to live off if you only work 17.5 hours per week. There's absolutely nothing to stop you from getting a part-time job in the afternoons to supplement your income.
My company is already looking at replacing as much of its mail dependant services as possible with other means. Essential post will go by private company and everything else will become electronic. Anyone else see a pattern repeating from the past?
Ps. 3 1/2 hours in the driving rain five days a week for £210? I spent that commuting to and from work in the rain for nothing, and get to work to get a call from my bank enquiring where my visa payment is and that I have a late payment charge and full interest for the month.
It's about time that the CWU started acting as a responsible union for their members and for the Royal Mail by getting their members back in to work and letting them sort it out around the table. They must understand the effect that they are having on future business, that there may not be any and their members and the CWU could be job hunters!
This action just goes to show that it's time the Royal Mail was completely closed down. We can do without it, using e-mail and private delivery services when 'real' documents and goods need to be conveyed. After all the Royal Mail dispensed with the railways as a method of conveying mail. Now it's their turn to be dismissed.
Our business is telephoning, faxing and e-mailing our clients instead of sending letters. Invoices are now sent electronically and we are being paid electronically.
On a personal level, we are logging into our credit card accounts via the internet and paying them electronically. It's quick, efficient and cheaper than paper, printing, envelopes and stamps. We'll only use Royal Mail if we have no other alternative in future. Thank you strikers, you're saving us money. If thousands of other businesses do the same, a lot of you will be out of work longer than you think.
If the postal workers were paid a decent wage they wouldn't be on strike, simple as that.
Stephen Burnet, UK
Who do these workers think they are? Even after a democratic ballot to strike is overturned we have wild cat strikes. They fly in the face of democracy.
Chris Baxendale, UK
No bills and no junk mail! I can do my banking online and communicate via email. And if I want to buy anything, I can use couriers. Long may the strike continue!
Vartan Narinian, UK
I do not believe that the post men/women should be striking because too many important documents are held up cheques, passports, etc that the public need.
However the situation will not get better, the post office must be the worst run organisation in this country. Remember Consignia, Royal Mail spent a fortune coming up with that stupid name only to change it back.
If you worked for a company that wasted money like that wouldn't you be a little angry.
John Cook, Manchester, UK
Postmen and women are some of the few groups of workers that still work on six days a week and in all weather. The service we get here in Harold Hill is first class. A workforce does not go without wages without good reason. These people are our friends and neighbours they deserve our support in what appears to be a conflict with a dictatorial bullying management
Dereck Smith, United Kingdom
I'm treasurer for a local drama group and we are supposed to be putting on a show in 1 week's time. Due to this strike, we've had no postal orders for tickets and are very concerned that our usual donation to charity from any profit made by the show might not be able to occur.
Nicola Crossley, UK
As ever, the public sector decides to strike and it is the general taxpaying public who suffer! I too would like a pay rise, but unfortunately if I do not turn up for work I will get sacked. Get rid of these strikers who clearly have no respect for the average person on the street. There are plenty of people out there who would be glad to take their places. I'm getting fed up with being used by mail workers, train drivers, airport staff, firemen etc whenever they want more money. There should be other ways to sort out these disputes.
The postal workers have no right to abandon their workplace without regard for the people who pay their wages and rely on the service they should be providing. We will, in the future, have less trust in the post and use e-mail. Then, where are the posties going to work?
Colin Jones, England
This is commercial suicide. Can't employees see that if they don't go back to work, pretty soon there'll be no work to go back to?
If I decided not to turn up to work because I don't like my pay I'd be sacked. Funny how different rules apply to the private sector.
I own a small company and currently have over 800 parcels waiting to be collected!
Post workers should just go back to work, we all work hard and if you ask most decent honest hard working people we would all like a pay rise, however in the current climate lets face it, it wont happen. For all our sakes please go back to work, there is nothing on Daytime TV anyway.
Paul Taylor, London, UK
Wildcat strikes are not legal. Strikers should be notified that if they are not back on their jobs within 24 hours they are considered dismissed and will have to reapply for employment, or go elsewhere. The economy will suffer if allowed to go on.
Jerry Sexton, USA
Some of the comments here are astounding - nobody strikes willingly and the idea that the postal workers are doing this because they are lazy or greedy is just abhorrent. I too work in the public sector and people seem to think that we should just take whatever is thrown at us because we're 'servants' - well, I'm nobody's servant, I do my job and I do it well, but I'll take no nonsense from anyone be they the public or the bosses, and I'm sure this applies to the postal workers as well - more power to them I say.
Andy Bean, UK
After putting up with late mail (has 1st class always meant 4 days delivery), lost mail (including special occasion cards that were opened and put in another envelope....Mr Cyril Wheeler if you're reading this it was a lovely Christmas card from Kay last year), money missing from mail, scrunched up and muddied mail - it's quite nice not to have to get into a state when it doesn't drop through the letterbox for a few days!
This is the postman's way of saying use email, quicker, more reliable, weighs less, costs less...
Wildcat strikes will not deliver better wages and working conditions to Royal Mail employees in the long term. Perhaps the instigators of the current action should take a brief refresher course on the history of the UK automotive industry.
Militant postal workers like those who have walked out in these latest wild-cat strikes do not deserve any sympathy. Like employees in almost any other company in the UK, people do not take jobs that they know will not pay enough for them to live on. If the job does not pay enough, then no one will apply and thus the employer will have to raise the salary for that job. If you have taken the job, knowing full well what the pay is like then you have no reason to complain. If the postal employers will not or can not raise the salaries, then the postal workers should do what every other hard working person has to do in a free market economy; they should seek alternative employment.
Daniel, London - UK
The postal workers voted not to strike in September so why are they striking now? I thought the idea of a vote was so that everyone did the same thing! They are holding the country to ransom, it should not be allowed.
What is the matter with everyone. Everyone is criticising the strike, because it interferes with their own little lives. What about the postman's life, can they afford to lose 2 or 3 weeks money, probably not. They are doing this because they are being forced into new working practices which will always benefit the management and not the workers. And if you want to make a point your not going to do it at a quiet time of the year, you are going to do it when it creates maximum impact...Christmas.
We should be admiring these men and women for having the guts to say enough is enough, and not just bowing down to the management like the vast majority of the British workforce do. Keep up the good work lads.
David Challis, U.S.
This strike is unofficial, thus the union should be telling their workers to return to work, instead they are trying to justify it, I feel sorry for the striker's families, not the strikers, but I expect they will be asking other unions and members of the public for donations to the hardship fund. I work in a 'service industry' we have had big changes, with no extra money, that's the way the world is these days.
The strikes are annoying but not surprising. I worked for Royal Mail for a little while and the atmosphere was unbearable. Royal Mail needs restructuring to cope with the challenges of the future, but the lower levels of management seem to go out of their way to antagonise staff.
James S, England
I wonder who the strike action is directed at? The average person is not going to find it financially possible to use alternative delivery services. Large business will just turn to DHL and the like.
The monopoly held by the Royal Mail should be broken. This would actually give RM employees more bargaining power as there would be a genuinely competitive environment.
Unofficial strike action does nothing to enhance the union's cause and should be challenged.
I support the posties' strike. The public sector in this country has been run down and sold off, and public-sector workers subjected to more pressure to work longer or more 'flexible' hours. It's about time somebody stood up to bullying management and the introduction of free-market practices into our public services. Well done the post-workers, good luck in your dispute.
Mike Evans, UK
I work in an Immigration law firm and some of our clients passports, which were sent back to them via special delivery two days ago have yet to arrive. This has caused numerous headaches for our office as well as for our clients because they need to travel very soon. I also have a feeling that we will be financially affected as bills that normally would have been paid and or received (as its the end of the month) are more likely than not to be late due to this "unofficial Industrial Action"
Michael McCarthy, London, UK (formerly Boston USA)
What upsets me most about this is that mail order items like CD's and books are delayed, yet bills and junk mail seem to be unaffected!
As ever people in this country show an abject lack of solidarity to striking workers. No one goes on strike unless they really have to and the public rarely grasps the full picture. This is a last gasp attempt to defend their livelihoods and that's a great deal more important than whether UK businesses get their junk mail delivered.
Jack Saunders, UK
If the postal workers genuinely think that their labour is worth more than they're being paid, then why don't they quit their job and let the employment market find them a 'fairer' wage. And perhaps Royal Mail should look to some temping agencies and use the temporary labour to fill the current gaps left by striking staff. I would gladly replace the striking staff for £12 / hour.
Unfortunately the only people hurt by these strikes are not people who deserve to be hurt... these with the power to end it are largely unaffected.
Another organisation that doesn't live in the real competitive world has a strike. It's like dealing with children. The only people that suffer are the customers. Keep up with the strike then the market will be opened up and a lot of Post Office workers will lose there jobs - with only themselves to blame.
The Royal Mail has a very small window where they will have public support. The public is already getting angry at being inconvenienced, as the lack of post affects everyone.
No sympathy here. Royal Mail have held the monopoly for far too long. Email and fax is far more efficient and reliable as is the Document Exchange method. Watch out Royal Mail employees, your jobs will disappear to other delivery companies and you'll soon be forgotten. Get back to work and be thankful you have a good job
Barbara Seymou, England
If the royal mail staff want to do things right, they should simply stop mail going to the government buildings and let the rest of the country get their post; if they did it that way then they'd have resolved the crisis by now. All they're doing is making the impotent masses madder and madder. And it's really not very sane to do that in such a season.
I am a single parent and I am waiting for a cheque for £500 to come in the post - I am relying on this money to live and feed my children. Because of the post strike it is caught up in the huge mountain of mail not being delivered. Who do these people think they are - do they just want a couple of days off - or are they simply too lazy to get out of bed - if they dislike the job and the pay so much why don't they go and get an alternative job or sort this matter out like grown adults and consider the ill affects it is having on the general public. They certainly won't be getting my sympathy.
Jayne Jobbins, Benfleet Essex
The postmen don't only do 17.5 hrs' a week......Who do you think sorts the mail? Fairies?
As someone who was closely affected by the Firefighters strike, I know from experience that striking is a miserable business for all concerned. It may initially get the point across by very rarely ends up with satisfaction all round. I'm sure the postal workers don't want to be without their wages before Christmas, just as the public don't want to be "pestles", so lets hope that the situation resolves asap. I'm booked on a flight to New Zealand next weekend and I can't go without my passport, which is supposedly en route from the Embassy in London, but for how long??
Do you really think that family men/woman would be happy to lose two weeks + salary whilst on strike if they didn't have to? If the management of the Royal Mail dealt with the dispute at hand and NOT demanding new working practices before a return to work than I believe the unofficial strikes would be over. The management of the RM are not being fair!!
Nikki Fulford, England
I have been waiting over a week, for important mail. One of which, is my credit card. But as usual, the man on the Street suffers at the hands of the minority. As others have mentioned, it's very convenient that this Strike has been started, just before the Christmas mail flow. For pete's sake, get the mail flowing!!!
The Royal Mail's big customers will find other, more reliable means of having their mail delivered - and when the strike is over they will stick with them. With the problems the Royal Mail faces in the marketplace this action is suicidal.
Alistair McIntosh, UK
We're not talking about an ordinary service industry here, we're talking about the Royal Mail - a monopoly where there are certain government guarantees. I have heard no mention of any government intervention - why not? I run a small company which relies on the sending out of invoices and receipt of payments. Clearly, any disruption to this causes me a fast cash flow problem. Also, I posted my VAT return and payment on Tuesday before hearing for the first time of the strike on the news. Why don't Customs & Excise penalise the Post Office in the same way as they would me for failure of them to receive by the due date?
Bob Richardson, England
I thought they had a ballot rejecting strike it is just the militant minority working again and they have to stamp down on it or the Post Office will be privatised
Mrs C Rouse, England
After working for Royal Mail for 15 years conditions have got so bad with management I'm not surprised at the present wave of industrial action. When I started working for Royal Mail it was a job to be proud of, now I just look at it as a job and nothing else. I would like to see both management and the union sort out this whole mess, and start earning their wages by improving working conditions for all parties included. On a personal note I think both parties are to blame for the short comings and lack of trust on both sides.
Postal workers have had enough of the bullying tactics. Sort out the mis-managers. No one wants to strike, but we can't afford not to.
As a fire brigades union member who went on strike this year I feel empathy for them. I can well understand how they feel about victimisation of their officials. It's not about money. We were demonised and portrayed as "traitors" and being "greedy". At the time we told everyone who'd listen that our dispute was turned into an opportunity by this government to cut costs and that it was no longer about pay. This is now happening. Believe the posties if they tell you it's not about pay and don't demonise them like we were, support them!
If it's not the London Underground - it's the Fireman and now it seems the postal workers want in on this strike madness. As usual, who suffers? Joe Public. I'm still waiting for things I've bought to be delivered, I've paid for them and now they're stuck in 'mail-limbo'. Royal Mail have been getting worse ever since they decided that two mail deliveries a day was too much. They're telling everyone not to post anything in case it creates a backlog - here's a suggestion - go back to work and start clearing it then!
Mark ,London, England
There are other postal companies from the Continental Europe willing to take the business from Royal Mail. And if the Channel is open for them, I am sure that the one who delivers will win and we can all say farewell to this strike nonsense.
The Royal Mail is a relic that's failed to change its internal practices and external services. I run a small company. Five years ago this strike action would have crippled me. Now, with email, I couldn't care less what RM does. The only thing I need them for is parcels and I can get better service and value from commercial competitors. My message - reform or die -and that's for management and workers.
Andy Key, UK
Oh nearly Christmas, that means a mail strike......again
Well, at least this time it is true when people say, your cheque is in the post.....
Unofficial strikes are illegal, or have we lost all respect for the law?
Furthermore, the postal workers may have valid needs but by striking they're causing trouble for businesses (I run a weekly music magazine: we depend on the post else we have no albums to review!), sick and old people waiting for doctors' letters and even students I know who are waiting for a bank card and cheque book and have no money to live off in the interim.
It can't be right to make a stand against suffering by heaping it onto other people.
Vik Bansal, England
I am in W London and had a number of days post interrupted and it is most inconvenient.
From what I understand it is a matter of principle. The workers ended their strike, returned to work only to find that additional conditions and changes previously denied by the management were to be enforced.
I can understand their frustration as it shows such disrespect, incompetence and ignorance by management. However, they need to work out a way to show their displeasure without alienating the population and crippling the economic lifeblood of the nation.
It seems that whenever there is a strike in this country, regardless of the issues involved, 'most' of the British public seem to think that the strike is ok unless it affects them in any way, whatsoever. Then they change their mind to complain about the strikers "going about getting our sympathy in the wrong way". Should they wear angry-looking badges, instead?
Jason Anderson, London, UK
I've been seeing some really big stamps recently, and they cost the same as the normal ones. Maybe if such indulgences were curtailed, the Royal Mail could afford to pay the postmen a bit more and we could all get our birthday cards and love letters.
Adrian Sellers, UK
Why don't we do what we did when the firemen all walked out, and get the army to deliver our letters? I'd love to see my post delivered with military precision.
People don't take strike action lightly and anyone who knows what pittance these people earn will understand. But as usual people become selfish and don't think of the bigger picture - we are all workers and we all need to stick together at times like this. The postmen have my full support
Patrick Green, N.Ireland
Initially I had sympathy for the strikes over the London Weighting being in a sort of similar situation of cost of living increases and no wage rise. However if they are earning so much that they can afford to go on strike and lose more than one days wages a week then they are obviously over paid. So I no longer have any sympathy only irritation growing to anger.
AN, UK - NW postal district
The public reaction and ignorance whenever there is a postal strike never fails to amaze me. Either the postman IS a valued member of society who deserves more than ?5.25 take-home each week or not. Judging by the inconvenience caused I would say postal workers deserve to be seen as more than "greedy" people doing less than "brain-bending" work. It's easy to sit back and suggest that those not happy should leave, but also very misguided.
Recruitment and retention of mail workers is appalling and there aren't enough bodies to do the job at the sharp end as it is, especially in larger cities. RM literally just can't get the staff. The honeymoon period soon wears off when youngsters realise that getting up at 4AM isn't conducive to a social life and those with 2 or 3 kids realise they are almost better off on benefits so wonder why they bother. Strike action is the last resort of the desperate.
Andy Woods, England
I'm in my mid 30's and for the last 10 or so years have been unemployable due to ill health. I along with millions of others would give a leg to be able to go out and earn, so sack them all after 24 hours and give us people on benefits a chance!!!!!!!!!!!
I think they should put all the postal drivers who are on strike out of job and employ cheaper foreign workers. This attitude toward public services, as seen also in the Tube strikes, is something that makes me ashamed of being British. I think the government should create a law that prohibits workers in public services from going on strike.
The government is in the process of privatising and deregulating the postal service. Like the railways, tubes, etc, this is being carried out for ideological reasons and to allow corporations to make money out of a public service.
Since you can only make money out of something by cost-cutting, it means downgrading the service provided to the public, and increasing the cost. Necessarily, cutting costs means cutting jobs, because in a labour-intensive industry, most of the costs are due to (measly) pay. This means breaking the union, which has resisted attempts to cut back on staffing and service.
In fact, this particular strike has been provoked by management trying to effectively derecognise the union, through a process of staff suspensions, victimising representatives and cutting facility time.
Now, on the same logic as offered by many of these correspondents, commuters should oppose the forthcoming strike on the underground over safety. Rail passengers should blame transport staff for daring to slow trains down over track they believe to be dangerous, or refusing to go through a red light (despite management pressure to maintain schedules).
After all, management are never to blame, are they?
One word - privatise.
Give us a chance to get post.
No group should control a country's post.
Trevor Oakley, Uk
I think people need to consider very seriously the reasons why 1000's of decent hard working men and women are prepared to withdraw their labour in the knowledge that they are jeopardising their employment and suffer financial penalties through loss of earnings. Having had direct experience of working for this company some 5 years ago, I think its a tragedy that very little has changed and that staff still have to endure antiquated bully boy management tactics that have no place in 21st century Britain.
Rob Watts, UK
As a student I rely on the post to organise my finances and the strikes have recently put me in a position where due to the delay in delivering letters I may not be able to make my rent payment and thus run the risk of being evicted. Everyone deserves fair pay but very few people get it. The strikers are selfish, uncaring, undisciplined and irresponsible.
The Post Office has been undermined for years by successive Governments trying to find ways to privatise it. We now have a Management structure that seems intent on confrontation, which added to low morale, is always likely to increase the militancy. The best way forward is to increase staff involvement in the changes, and to look properly at the grievances that the Unions are raising. Also, preaching that no money is available whilst drawing large salaries and bonuses is not particularly helpful!
John C, Bath, England
I'm annoyed, but with the PO management rather than the posties themselves. I believe that management has taken the opportunity to bully and force through changes after the vote against an official strike.
My little boy turned one on Monday and we have had no post AT ALL for the last eight days. I am just glad he is too young to understand why he hasn't had his cards and presents yet... We live very close to the sorting office where the action first started and I am truly shocked at the disruption it has caused my family - businesses must be spitting blood.
My son, who is unemployed, needs legal documents to prove his identity before he can claim benefits. I sent these to him earlier this week by first class recorded delivery and it would appear that these documents are held up in the backlog of mail in London. Why wasn't I warned by the post office clerk that this was likely to happen? I could have made alternative arrangements and travelled the 60-mile round trip had I known. The whole situation is a total nightmare! I used to be employed by the post office in the 1970s and refused to join the union because they were so militant - they would threaten to go on strike at the slightest opportunity. Unfortunately things haven't changed much have they?
It is times like this when e-mail comes into its own for movement of non-urgent documents. Ok fair enough, insurance documents and tax discs need to be the originals. I have started paying my credit card bills online, saving worrying about if my cheque will get there on time. In our area we are still getting a delivery each day. I am expecting letters that people told me they posted to me LAST WEEK!!
I believe that everyone is entitled to fair pay but it's when this sort of action causes so much disorientation that people need to step back and rethink their actions. This protest has had major impacts throughout the UK - big companies as well as small have felt the ripple effect of the workers' walk out. This is not the way to run a professional business at all. As stated before - if anyone else were to make such a protest in their jobs they would be shown the door.
I posted a couple of very important letters a couple of days ago in my high street. The second I pushed them through the letter box, I felt a pile of other people's letters at the top. In all my life I have never seen a letter box full to the top. I think it's disgusting and appalling that postal workers can go on stupid indefinite strikes. I think they should all be given a 24-hour deadline to return to work or they will lose their jobs. Going on an indefinite, unofficial strike is not the way to resolve a dispute.
I renewed my bike insurance recently and only have a temporary cover note which is due to expire. There is no post in our area and I am going to be stuck without insurance cover for my bike which I need to do my work. It is an absolute disgrace that ordinary people can be put to such inconvenience by the greed of a small number of people. Not only is the CWU damaging its own members' cause by this strike, it is also causing great damage to the small businesses which are the mainstay of our economy. It is about time that the CWU got to grips with the commercial realities of today.
Our company normally receives 250 orders per day by post, and about 30 cheques. Due to this selfish, blinkered action, we are now transferring virtually all of these transactions to fax, e-mail, Bacs etc. Hopefully huge numbers of these lazy, 1970s style "workers" will be made redundant, and the post office sold off to Deutsche Post who will rebuild one of the last strongholds of what used to be known worldwide as "the British Disease".
Andrew, London, UK
Yes I think the postal workers have every right to strike to defend their conditions and their union. Anyone who looks at the causes of recent disputes, would see that it is Royal Mail senior management that is provoking the situation, with their threats, bullying and blatantly union busting strategy. These fat cats, working one or two days a week and paying themselves hundreds of thousands of pounds have the temerity to say that postal workers do not work hard enough. And, that 30,000 of you are going to lose your jobs. Enough is enough.
Rob Bolton, UK
I have the travel documents for my honeymoon and documents for the purchase of a flat stuck in the post. This is causing me and my new wife much anxiety at what should be a happy time of our lives. Thanks postal workers. Sympathy - zero.
Due to the strike action my credit card payment is late, and I will pay interest as a result. However, everyone should have the right to decent pay and conditions. Simply because there are people who will work for less does not legitimise poor pay. Public servants are not to be confused with public slaves. To be a public servant means to have the public's interest at heart, but this has to be reciprocated in a civilised society. With the RM losing money, I'm sure the root of all this is poorly handled cost-cutting by a management that views employees as stock. For the record, I am not a postal worker.
I don't agree with the strikes. I come from Oxford, this is the second time in about a month that we have been affected by strikes. We are only just getting our post back to normal from the last strike and now we have to put up with yet more disruptions to the post getting through. I sell things on the internet, last month I was affected by the postal strike in Oxford so badly it took two - four weeks for money to come through to me from people who had paid for goods. The worst thing about this strike is that it is small businesses and people who are relying on getting things through the post who are going to be worse affected. If the postal workers want our sympathy they are really going about it the wrong way. The sooner another company comes up with a reasonably priced alternative to the Royal Mail the better as far as I am concerned.
Mel, Oxford, England
The work done by postal workers is vital to us all. So they should be treated with respect by their management. It's bad enough getting up in the middle of the night to go and deliver mail in all weather - but having to put up with bullying management and rubbish pay is not on. The basic reason behind this strike is that Royal Mail management have decided to break the union - all the post workers are doing is defending themselves. I hope they win.
Adrian Cousins, England
I'm utterly disgusted with the union's arrogant strike action, my feelings go out to the postal workers feeling forced to tow the line. I myself am waiting for liquid minerals which help me against my HIV infection, without them I suffer flu like symptoms and insomnia.
Thank you CWU, you action could possibly land me in hospital!
I have been affected by the postal strikes in a big way due to late deliveries to customers and to myself including money owed to me. I am self employed and this mess could take months to get out of. If conditions are so bad with Royal Mail, postal workers should leave, but not invite public anarchy by walking out. Also RM should have had a back up plan as they kept saying they'd cope if their workers walked out, so what happens? Everyone walks and we're all messed. Hope the dispute is solved soon as it's taking the mickey now.
Michael Knight, UK
I run a small national charity. We have not had post for almost a week and therefore no income for a week which for a charity our size is a big issue. On top of that when post does start being delivered again it will then take considerable time to deal with the backlog thus affecting our output. The bottom line is that our members and those wanting our support are being affected. I do hope this dispute can be sorted out very soon.
National Endometriosis Society
It takes two to have an argument and I suspect there are major failings on all sides of this dispute, but the bottom line is that however good or pleasant they may be, the job of a postman is hardly brain bending. I'm sure there are a lot of newly allowed immigrants that would be delighted to do this work at well below the current rates paid to post office staff. Lets just focus on the realities of life for once
David Pugh, UK
Yes I am affected. I have worked for RM for 30 years and have been on strike since Tuesday. Management are hell-bent on a policy of intimidation and bullying. Frankly our pay and conditions are a disgrace. I work SIX days a week and go on delivery like a pack horse. When non-militant offices like ours sign up for unofficial action-then things are very bad indeed.
Terry Groves, England
Well thanks again! More chaos inflicted on the general public... Sympathy for this kind of strike is fairly low to say the least! The personal lives of the public are being interfered with, who fancies telling a young child why a birthday card from the grandparents or other relatives hasn't arrived? Pet arrived? People rely on the post and those who work for what once used to be a proud British institution should think of the damage they are causing...
I have had to send home staff due to insufficient work as a result of non-delivery of mail. Many of us over the years have had to look at our working practices and come to terms with these. This sort of action by the postal workers causes other workers stress and the public inconvenience. The Royal Mail are already a loss making company - how much longer have the tax payers to bail them out? They need to come into the present day working practices.
Marlene Collins, UK
If I refused to do my job over what I was being paid or the treatment of a colleague, I would be sacked and replaced by somebody who would. This smacks of immaturity and of little union generals thinking they can dictate how a company can operate.
The whole industry right across the board can not afford a strike as this will just damage our standing with the general public. The opposition will take over and all our jobs will be gone. In rural Scotland we depend very heavily on this work and can't afford to strike. Try living on our wages here and the cost of living in Scotland is just as expensive as London.
If the unions cannot control their members and shut down these 'unofficial' strikes, how can they ever expect to be taken seriously when they do get to a formal negotiating table? It seems the tail wags the dog.
Brett Danielson, UK
I work for Royal Mail in London. I am a postal grade employee. I want to make it clear I am not a manager. I think the behaviour of the CWU is disgusting. It's common knowledge (and I've experienced it first hand) that the union is leading their members astray. There is no more money to give. My colleagues on unofficial action need to understand that if they continue, they will place themselves, and ME out of a job. The CWU is greedy, arrogant and has no interest in making Royal Mail work. As long as they continue to take employee subscriptions whilst doing as little as possible to genuinely provide for their members, they're happy. I stopped my union membership a few months ago and will continue to work and try to provide a decent level of service and job security.
Massively affected me as my passport is stuck in some sorting office so the likelihood is that I will not be able to go on my holiday on Saturday and not sure if I am covered on insurance.
James Meikle, UK
I am shortly to embark on a three-hour round trip to collect a car insurance certificate - as the original has been held up in the post for the past week. Without it I can't tax my car.
Julie Bryant, England
I totally disagreed with the action of postal workers. I've been waiting for official letters, including a bank statement and reference from my university which I need to extend my visa. The workers undermine the whole British public services in order to fulfil their interests. I think they are just their own grave diggers.
Tomohito Nakajima, London