UK summer of strikes: Multiple sectors hit by strikes over high inflation
France24

As union workers from various industries voice their concerns over pay in the form of strikes, even fictional characters such as Postman Pat are joining those on the picket line.

115,000 Royal Mail Group employees who are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have gone on strike this morning, calling for a “dignified, proper pay rise” which addresses the increased cost of living pressures they face.

While a two per cent pay rise was imposed earlier this summer, the CWU believes this would lead to a “dramatic reduction in workers’ living standards” given inflation is reported to hit 18 per cent by January next year.

Dave Ward, general secretary of the CWU, 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.”

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And if there’s one person who is in touch with modern Britain, it’s Postman Pat - obviously.

In a tweet declaring “the [king] has arrived”, the popular children’s character is seeing waving at postal workers at a picket line, complete with a pink CWU jacket.

Truly iconic behaviour, we think – and Twitter seems to agree too:

Others, meanwhile, were wondering where his trusty cat Jess was in all this:

It turns out she wasn’t too far away, as the pair were spotted giving an actual interview to Sky News – yes, really:

Meanwhile, Royal Mail Group has criticised the strike as one which throws the company into “the most uncertain time of its 500-year history”.

A statement on their website, issued on Thursday, reads: “It is putting jobs at risk and making pay rises less affordable. We are losing £1million a day. We must change to fix the situation and protect high quality jobs.

“While our competitors work seven days a week, delivering until 10pm to meet customer demand, the CWU want to work fewer hours, six days a week, starting and finishing earlier.

“Their plans to transform Royal Mail come with a £1billion price tag, are predicated on a wholly unrealistic revival in letter writing, and prevent Royal Mail from growing, and remaining competitive, in a fast-moving industry. The CWU’s vision for Royal Mail would create a vicious spiral of falling volumes, higher prices, bigger losses, and fewer jobs.

“We have offered to meet the CWU numerous times in recent weeks, but they declined each invitation, preferring to spend their time on the political agenda of the UK trade union movement.

Further strike action is scheduled to take place next Wednesday, as well as on 8 and 9 September.

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