Personal Finance

Last dates for Christmas post brought forward due to Royal Mail strikes - key dates

Royal Mail strikes have brought forward the last dates for posting mail before Christmas. Here's what you need to know to get packages there in time!

Postal workers in the Communication Workers Union are striking over six days this month as part of industrial action that started in August.

Up to 115,000 union members who collect, sort and deliver parcels and letters are striking on December 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24 in a row over wages and working conditions, after the CWU rejected a pay rise of up to 9%.

Union members already walked out over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in a bid to cause maximum disruption.

In a letter to customers, Royal Mail said: "Royal Mail has well-developed contingency plans, but we cannot fully replace the daily efforts of our frontline workforce. We’ll be doing what we can to keep services running, but we are sorry this planned strike action is likely to cause you some disruption."

During strike days, Royal Mail said it would deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked 24 parcels as possible and would prioritise the delivery of Covid test kits and medical prescriptions where possible. Apart from Special Delivery mail, staff would not be delivering letters during strike days.

Last week Royal Mail managed to deliver about 700,000 parcels during strike days and "recovered service quickly", chief executive Simon Thompson said.

Last postage dates before Christmas are:

  • Monday December 12: 2nd class, 2nd Class Signed For and Royal Mail 48
  • Friday December 16: 1st class, 1st Class Signed For, Royal Mail 24 and Royal Mail Tracked 48
  • Monday December 19: Royal Mail Tracked 24
  • Wednesday December 21: Special Delivery Guaranteed

Business contract services have similar deadlines.

Items can continue to be posted in post boxes and Post Offices but collections will be less frequent than usual on strike days, Royal Mail said.

Royal Mail, which was privatised in 2013, is offering workers a pay deal it says is worth up to 9% over 18 months.

But, with inflation at 11.1% the CWU wants staff to be paid more, plus the scrapping of plans for compulsory Sunday working and other changes to working conditions.

Already strikes have cost Royal Mail £100 million, it was reported in November, before the Black Friday and Cyber Monday walkouts.

Royal Mail said in a statement on December 12: "Following several months of talks between Royal Mail and Communication Workers Union, including ACAS facilitation, Royal Mail has shared a best and final offer for pay and change. The revised offer includes extensive improvements that have been made during the negotiations with the CWU, including an enhanced pay deal of 9% over 18 months and a number of other concessions to terms and agreements. The offer is subject to agreeing a programme of change with the CWU."

However, CWU general secretary Dave Ward previously said: "We will not accept that 115,000 Royal Mail workers - the people who kept us connected during the pandemic, and made millions in profit for bosses and shareholders - take such a devastating blow to their livelihoods.

"We urge every member of the public to stand with their postie, and back them like never before."

Image courtesy of / Ray Orton

Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.


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