STAFF at Alloa's Royal Mail delivery office were out in force at the picket line last week as they took industrial action to secure fair pay.

There was hardly a car passing by that would not toot its horn, or a pedestrian who wouldn't give a thumbs up in support, as determined members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) went on strike last Friday, August 26.

The trade union and its members are asking for fair pay in the face of a cost of living crisis and say the company posted profits of £758million.

Gary Clark, CWU Scotland No 2 Branch secretary, spoke to the Advertiser at the picket line on Broad Street.

He said: “Royal Mail have imposed a 2 per cent pay rise on us when our members deserve vastly much more.

“Last year, they posted profits of £758m, they gave £400m to shareholders alone, they've just agreed to give another £138m to shareholders, they've paid hundreds of thousands of bonuses [to executives] at a time when our members are facing a cost of living crisis.”

Two ballots have taken place, the secretary explained, one on pay which was the reason for the strike on the day with 97 per cent voting in favour, but also another on terms and conditions with another convincing result.

Striking in an economic crisis is no easy choice, however.

“People's money is tight,” Gary continued.

“We, like anybody else, do not want to go on strike, we were forced to go on strike – our members have got to feed their kids, heat their homes – our chief executives do not have to worry about that.”

Staff were determined in taking industrial action on the day and were keen to show their strength to passers by.

Gary, who also visited other picket lines in the area on the day, said: “The mood is solid, our members are up for this and we are in for it for the long haul.”

Later in the morning, the postal workers were joined by John Patton, 80, of Tillicoultry.

The former headteacher and national president of teaching union EIS, said: “Postal workers are employed by a hugely profitable company, Royal Mail.

“In a cost of living crisis, these workers deserve a fair wage for the very valuable service that they provide.

“I urge all trade-unionists to show their support for all workers, reluctantly forced into strike action.”

Owain Beaumont, area representative for CWU, spoke of the mood on the day.

He said: “We've had great support, we are a loyal bunch in Alloa.

“I think the turnout is fantastic, but what's better is the support we are getting from the public, you can hear all of them tooting their horns – it's really good to hear the community pulling together, sticking up for their local posties.”

Further strike action has been planned for Wednesday, August 31, as well as September 8 and 9.

While trade union members spoke of profits made and dividends paid out, the Royal Mail said it is losing £1m a day.

A spokesperson, who apologised to customers, said: “We must change to fix the situation and protect high-quality jobs.

“The change we need is the change the public demand of us.

“They want more and bigger parcels delivered the next day – including Sundays – and more environmentally friendly options.

“They want this at a competitive price, with great quality of service.

“We cannot cling to outdated working practices, ignoring technological advancements and pretending that Covid has not significantly changed what the public wants from Royal Mail.”

They added the future of the company was “as a parcels business”.