Royal Mail’s parent company raised its estimate of the cost of the strike so far to £200m and claimed that up to 12,500 union members worked on strike days.

International Distribution Services (IDS) said the 18 days of strike at Royal Mail helped push the department to an operating loss of £295m in the first nine months of the financial year to the end of December.

It reported that revenue at Royal Mail was down around 13% from the same period in 2021, with letter volumes down and COVID test kits also contributing.

IDS also blamed “weaker retail trends” for the tougher economy.

Revenue at Royal Mail during the crucial Christmas quarter – which was plagued by a strike in December – fell by 16.7%.

The company is grappling with challenges on several fronts.

A new industrial strike ballot is underway among the 112,000 frontline workers – members of the Communications Workers Union who have been fighting proposed modernization plans and want a better wage deal.

There is no sign of an end to the bitter – and personal – dispute, with company and union leaders at each other’s throats in a public battle for sympathy.

Royal Mail also continues to grapple with disruption to overseas parcel deliveries due to a Ransomware attack.

IDS said that as a result of problems within the company, it was expecting an adjusted operating loss of around £400m at Royal Mail for the financial year to the end of March and negative trading cash flows for 2024.

She cautioned that the full-year outlook is based on no more days of strike action in the fourth quarter and on CWU accepting the “best and last” pay offer.

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