Postal workers in the region have launched a new strike in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions, with more walkouts expected before the Christmas strike.
The Communications Workers Union (CWU) said its 115,000 members across the UK joined the latest strike, describing it as the biggest strike in a year that has seen industrial unrest across a number of industries , including the railway.
Picket lines were set up outside Royal Mail offices in the sixth day of action in recent months, including outside the Sun Street depot in Wolverhampton and delivery offices in Market Drayton and Walsall.
The union accused Royal Mail of planning a structural change, which would see employees in secure, well-paid jobs become an “informal and economically precarious workforce overnight”.
The CWU said the plans include delaying the arrival of mail to members of the public by three hours, cuts to workers’ sick pay and lower conditions for new hires.
The union has announced 19 more strike days over the next few weeks.
General Secretary Dave Ward said: “Postal workers are facing the biggest ever assault on their jobs, terms and conditions in Royal Mail’s history.
“The public and businesses are also facing the end of daily deliveries and the destruction of the special relationship that postal workers and the public have in all communities across the UK.
“It is an insult to the intelligence of all postal workers that Royal Mail chief executive Simon Thompson claims his agenda for change is ‘modernisation’.
“It is nothing more than a business plan to dispose of assets which will see the dissolution of the company and the end of Royal Mail as a major contributor to the UK economy.
“Royal Mail Group claims to be losing £1m a day. The CWU believes these figures should be reviewed.”
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Three weeks ago, Royal Mail invited the CWU to enter into talks through Acas to find a solution to our exchange and payment dispute. We have not reached an agreement with the CWU on this request
“Royal Mail is losing £1m a day and needs to change faster in response to changing customer demands.
“CWU management’s choice to undermine strike action over the resolution is weakening the company’s financial position and threatening the job security of our postmen and postmen.
“We call on CWU leaders to cancel their planned strike action and accept our invitation to start talks through Acas without further delay.
“We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience the continued CWU strike will cause.
“We’re doing everything we can to minimize delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”