Royal Mail workers have been involved in prolonged industrial action since last year over low pay and unsatisfactory conditions
The UK’s postal service, Royal Mail, has issued an apology after employees on strike were told they would receive substantial raises in what turned out to be an April Fools’ prank.
A poster displayed to workers on April 1 at a Royal Mail branch in Gloucester, England explained that the company and the Communication Workers Union had “reached an agreement” which would bring an end to strikes that have caused several months worth of disruptions within the UK’s mail delivery system.
The poster stated that staff members would receive an 11% pay increase, backdated by 12 months, as well as several other concessions. It also informed them that they were encouraged to distribute the message on social media, prompting it to be spread widely among Royal Mail employees around the UK.
However, what had initially appeared to be a breakthrough in talks between the union representing workers and Royal Mail heads quickly devolved into antipathy when people found out that the letter was little more than a “tone-deaf” prank.
“We apologize for any upset caused by this misjudged April Fools’ joke at one of our delivery offices,” Royal Mail said in a statement this week. “The poster was removed and the local manager has apologized.”
“Throughout the postal workers’ strike, Royal Mail workplaces have seen managers engaging in unprecedented levels of intimidation against postal workers,” the Communication Workers Union said in a statement earlier this week. “For many employees, the workplace is now a completely toxic environment where nasty, tone-deaf ‘jokes’ such as these are considered culturally acceptable.”
It added that some workers represented by the union had been dismissed from their positions for “far less than this joke.”
Royal Mail workers have been involved in prolonged protests due to complaints about low pay and unsatisfactory working conditions. The dispute has led to 18 days of strikes so far, which included walkouts during the busy Christmas period.