UK postal service Royal Mail ( ROYMY ) said on Friday it could cut 6,000 jobs this year as it warned of a big loss, blaming a wave of strikes and a slump in its parcel delivery business.
Around 110,000 Royal Mail workers went on strike on Thursday to demand better pay and working conditions. It was the first of 19 days of strike is scheduled to coincide with the peak holiday shopping season, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Strikes followed the walks in August and September. Some parts of Royal Mail’s service will be out of service for many while different groups leave at the same time.
Royal Mail said it expected to report operating losses of between £350 million and £450 million ($506 million) this year, taking into account the eight days of strikes already carried out or formally notified to the company.
Another 16 strike days can be held in November and December.
“If these occur, the loss for the full year would increase significantly and further operational restructuring and headcount reductions may be necessary,” the company said in a statement.
The Communications Workers Union, which represents postal workers, says the walkouts are part of the “biggest ongoing strike of the year”.
The CWU says it is fighting Royal Mail’s plans to change conditions, including new performance standards and increased hours for new workers. The union too he says the company gave its workers a 2% wage increase, well below the rate of inflation. He’s pushing harder, though he hasn’t said how much.
In a statement published on its website on Friday, the union said it was calling for a government inquiry into Royal Mail’s “mismanagement”.
Royal Mail has said most letters will not be delivered on strike days, and customers should expect delays in parcel deliveries. It would deliver as many tracking packages as possible and expedited shipping labels on strike days, the company added.
The strikes are the latest in a wave of industrial action in the UK this year. train workers Bus drivers and lawyers are among groups of workers who have walked out to demand higher wages as inflation drives wild living standards. Amazon ( AMZN ) workers are voting for a strike, with the result of the vote expected next week.
UK consumer prices rose 9.9% in August last year, hovering around the 40-year high of 10.1% recorded the previous month.
And the squeeze is getting worse. Prime Minister Liz Truss’ plans to push billions through unfunded tax cuts sent the pound falling and government bond yields rising.
That’s already pushing up mortgage payments as lenders price more aggressive rate hikes by the Bank of England to counter the inflationary impact of tax cuts and a weaker pound.