More than 115,000 UK postal workers are to stage a series of strikes in the coming weeks in a dispute over pay.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said it would be the biggest strike of the summer so far to demand a “dignified, proper pay rise”.
Strikes will be held on Friday 26 and Wednesday 31 August, and 8 and 9 September. The decision follows a recent ballot for strike action, in which members voted by 97.6% on a 77% turnout to take action.
The union said management responded by imposing a 2% pay rise, which it believed would lead to a “dramatic reduction” in workers’ living standards because of soaring inflation.
The CWU general secretary, Dave Ward, said: “Nobody takes the decision to strike lightly, but postal workers are being pushed to the brink.
“There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve. 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.
“The CWU’s message to Royal Mail’s leadership is simple – there will be serious disruption until you get real on pay.”
Ricky McAulay, the operations development director at Royal Mail, said: “After more than three months of talks, the CWU have failed to engage in any meaningful discussion on the changes we need to modernise, or to come up with alternative ideas.
“The CWU rejected our offer worth up to 5.5% for CWU grade colleagues, the biggest increase we have offered for many years. In a business that is currently losing £1m a day, we can only fund this offer by agreeing the changes that will pay for it.
“Royal Mail can have a bright future, but we can’t achieve that by living in the past… “We are ready to talk further with CWU to try and avert damaging industrial action but, as we have consistently said, it must be about both change and pay.
“We have contingency plans in place, and will be working hard to minimise disruption and get our services back to normal as soon as we can to keep people, businesses and the country connected.”