Black Friday Strikes: Postal Workers and UCU Take Strike Action

Image: Lauren Wiles

By Lauren Wiles

Around 115,000 postal workers and 70,000 members of the University and College Union (UCU) will be walking out starting today for the next 48 hours over disputes of jobs, pensions, pay and working conditions in one of the biggest walkouts of the year.

More strikes have been planned to include important dates over the festive period, such as Christmas Eve with talks of leaders of unions taking joint action and there is speculation that there may be a general strike on the horizon.

The UCU announced to strike after lecturers and university staff voted for industrial action last month due to attacks on pay, working conditions and pension cuts with 80% of lecturers saying that they are more financially insecure than last year.

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Image: Lauren Wiles

Eva Lake-Towner, Co-Chair of the University of Essex Labour Society said: “The actions taken by the UCU are more than reasonable and are in response to a massive decline in their living standards and growing workloads while universities make record breaking profits.”

The Communications Union (CWU) post office members decided to go on strike on one of the busiest days of the year for delivery companies due to workers not getting a reasonable pay rise.

Steve Furzer, a postal worker who operates around the Thurrock area told Essex Journalism why he was striking today. He said that Royal Mail want to “do away with union representation and they want to have private couriers… so many different reasons. It’s not all just over pay.”

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Image: James Manning/PA

So, how will these Strikes affect you?

In a statement, Royal Mail said that they will not be delivering letters- unless it is marked as special delivery and COVID Test-Kits or medical prescriptions are prioritised.

They advise that you post your items as early as possible in advance of the strike dates and to continue posting at Post-boxes or Post Offices- but collections will be less frequent on days of strike action.

For students, the UCU have stated that this is the biggest university strikes to hit the UK with 150 universities joining the strike, including the University of Essex, and it could impact up to 2.5 million students.

When are the next strikes?

The next strike days will be:

  • Wednesday 30th November (CWU and UCU)
  • Thursday 1st December (CWU)
  • Friday 9th December (CWU)
  • Sunday 11th December (CWU)
  • Wednesday 14th December (CWU)
  • Thursday 15th December (CWU)
  • Friday 23rd December (CWU)
  • Friday 24th December (CWU)