Royal Mail wins worst April Fools' joke 2023
Promises 11% pay rise after almost a year of negotiations and strikes over salary and conditions
Amid rampant inflation, spiraling costs and stagnant wages, there was little bandwidth for April Fools' this year when every day can feel like a bad joke.
However, the prevailing atmosphere was lost on a Royal Mail delivery office in Gloucestershire, England, where a poster appeared on Saturday promising staff an 11 percent pay rise backdated to April 2022 following an agreement with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Stranger things have happened, we suppose, but the sting felt by postal workers as they read on must have been rage-inducing.
The missive also spoke of employing 10,000 telegram boys, a profession eradicated in 1977, and introducing a "brand new fleet of diesel vans and bicycles to replace electric vans," which the organization has only recently started to roll out.
The context to this extremely poor taste prank is that the Royal Mail has been locked in a dispute with the CWU for almost a year, with 18 days of strikes between August and the end of 2022.
According to the CWU, Royal Mail workers are demanding a "dignified proper pay rise." Staff were offered a 5.5 percent raise, though this was blasted because the proposed amount boiled down to just a two percent increase as the rest of the money was tied to certain conditions and caveats, we're told.
Union general secretary Dave Ward said in September: "Nobody takes the decision to strike lightly, but postal workers are being pushed to the brink.
"There can be no doubt that postal workers are completely united in their determination to secure the dignified, proper pay rise they deserve.
"We can't keep living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks.
"When Royal Mail bosses are raking in £758m in profit and shareholders pocketing £400m, our members won't accept pleads of poverty from the company."
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With negotiations collapsing again yesterday, the CWU looks set to announce additional strike dates.
Royal Mail said in a statement: "The poster was removed and the local manager has apologised.
"We apologise for any upset caused by this misjudged April Fools' joke at one of our delivery offices."
But the CWU was less than impressed. "Hundreds of CWU members have been sacked and dismissed for far less than this 'joke'," a spokesperson said.
"It seems to be the case at the moment that Royal Mail managers can do anything they like as long as what they're doing hurts employees.
"It is destroying morale and is playing its role in running the company into the ground." ®