Royal Mail slumps to half-year loss amid strike actions

Royal Mail slumps to half-year loss amid strike actions
© Reuters.

By Scott Kanowsky — Britain’s Royal Mail has posted a half-year adjusted operating loss of £219 million (£1 = $1.1903), matching a warning issued in October, as the more than 500-year-old business faces the impact from strikes and weak parcel volumes.

The delivery service also confirmed a prior warning that it will slump to a full-year adjusted operating loss of around £350M – £450M.

Talks over pay and working patterns have been ongoing between Royal Mail management and its largest labor union, the Communications Workers Union, with the firm flagging that it stands to lose £1M per day from the industrial action.

Negotiations have been extended to try to avoid further strikes before Christmas. The CWU has said it is planning a walk-out on November 24, which Royal Mail has warned could cause further damage to its operations.

Royal Mail said on Thursday that discussions will “cease” if further industrial action goes ahead.

The labor battle has subsequently led the company to estimate that it will need to announce between 5,000 to 6,000 redundancies by the end of August 2023. Around 5,000 full-time roles are expected to be eliminated by March next year and about 10,000 by August on a rolling 12-month basis.

Meanwhile, International Distributions Services PLC (LON:IDSI) – the U.K. multinational that also includes Royal Mail’s subsidiary GLS – swung to a loss in its first half.

IDS reported a loss before tax of £127 million in the 26-week period ended on September 25, down from a profit of £315M in the corresponding timeframe last year. Revenue dropped 3.9% year-on-year to £5.84 billion.

London-listed shares in IDS edged higher in early trading, but have fallen by more than 43% over the last one-year period.