British postal operator Royal Mail on Friday unveiled plans to axe up to 10,000 jobs, blaming the move partly on ongoing staff strikes that contributed to a first-half loss.
The announcement came one day after staff staged the first of 19 walkouts targeting the critical run-up to Christmas, joining several other UK sectors carrying out industrial action as sky-high inflation erodes the value of wages.
Royal Mail´s job cuts follow “the impact of industrial action, delays in delivering agreed productivity improvements and lower parcel volumes”, its parent group said in a results statement, sending shares tanking.
“Our operational full-time employee workforce will need to reduce by an estimated 10,000 by the end of August 2023,” International Distributions Services added alongside news it had plunged into the red.
– Royal makeover –
Set up more than 500 years ago, Royal Mail has experienced some of its most turbulent times during the past decade, particularly following its controversial privatisation in 2013.
The firm´s core letters business has been ravaged as consumers increasingly go online to communicate.
However, it enjoyed booming demand for parcel deliveries during Britain´s Covid lockdowns — and played a vital role delivering test kits and protective clothing in the pandemic.
Yet the Covid-era boom in parcels has tailed off.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last month, all new Royal Mail postboxes will no longer feature the EIIR royal cipher.
The cipher stood for Elizabeth II Regina (“queen” in Latin).
Instead they will be imprinted with CIIIR, representing Charles III Rex (“king” in Latin). A crown will feature above both letters.
New British stamps will also feature an image of his head.