Royal Mail workers have announced a 48-hour strike taking place on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1.
It marks the start of 19 walk outs in total, all taking place over the course of October and November in deteriorating and long-running disputes over pay.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) confirmed the strikes earlier this year, after they were pushed back due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8.
It is a worry to the UK public, with the walk outs ongoing in the run up to the Christmas period.
It leaves many wondering whether or not the Post Office is open all together, as even though the two organisations are separate, they are directly tied to one-another.
Is the Post Office open on Friday and Saturday?
Post Office workers are not striking today, Friday and Saturday, so most branches are expected to be open.
The difficultly however is that the Royal Mail started its strike today and will continue tomorrow (October 1).
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) who collect, sort and deliver parcels and letters are to take further national strike action on both Friday September 30 and Saturday October 1.
The Post Office warned customers that they are likely to experience delays to their service as a result.
It urged users to ensure any packages or letters they wanted delivered were processed early on Thursday (September 29) in order to be sure that they arrive promptly.
Taking to Twitter, the Post Office said: “Our branches are open as usual, however we strongly advise to post early as there will be a delay to mails on Friday and Saturday.”
Separately, Royal Mail have announced a further 19 strike days across October and November which is expected to impact on the online shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Why were Post Office staff on strike?
Post Office staff are unhappy with the wage increase offer put on the table by top bosses.
The strike on Wednesday was the sixth day of industrial action since May.
According to the CWU, the dispute had been sparked by Post Office bosses’ freezing on members’ pay for the 2021/22 financial year, which was then followed up by a 2% pay offer for 2022/23.
A lump-sum of £250 was added to the basic offer, which was then raised to 3% as further strikes during June and the summer went ahead.
Bosses eventually returned with a cash lump-sum of £500 and raised the basic offer to 5%, but the CWU said the cost-of-living surge meant that was still “completely insufficient”.
CWU official Andy Furey said: “In a normal year, pay offers at those kinds of levels would be considered acceptable.
“But when we’ve had the retail price index (RPI) going over 10%, then 11 and up to and beyond 12, there’s no way we can agree to what are, in effect, real-terms pay cuts.”
With the six-month mandate for strikes now reached following the original strike ballot on March 28, the union is unable to call any further industrial action until holding a new vote with its membership.
The CWU has vowed to do that and urge members to approve further walkouts.
What the Post Office says about the strikes
The Post Office has looked to keep services running during staff walkouts and boasted that many city centre branches have stayed open on strike days.
A Post Office spokesman, speaking on Thursday, said: “There are 114 branches, typically in city centres, that are directly managed by the Post Office and on previous strike days over half have opened as usual.
“We’re disappointed that the CWU have made the decision to strike but remain hopeful that we can reach a pay agreement soon.”