The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has rejected Royal Mail’s pay rise offer, labelling it as a “sweetener to swallow some very bitter pills”.

The post and parcel giant proposed an 8.6% pay rise over three years for around 125,000 staff yesterday, but the union said the offer did not meet its terms of an above-inflation pay rise.

In a recent CWU ballot of 112,000 Royal Mail staff, 99% of the turnout voted for a pay rise ahead of its privatisation plans.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “The pay rise is only there as a sweetener to swallow some very bitter pills on damaging changes to pensions and a raft of workplace uncertainty.”

The union accused the firm of having “no real strategy for growth” and giving postal workers unmanageable workloads.

As well as higher basic pay, the CWU said it will be asking for a more certain long-term deal.

Royal Mail said cooperation with union was “central to the future success of the company”.