MSP Alex Rowley has joined striking posties on the picket line in Dunfermline and warned of the end of the "postal service as we know it”.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are taking industrial action to try to secure a better pay deal, protect terms and conditions and in protest against Royal Mail's plans to cut up to 10,000 jobs.

However, the company said claims they're going to 'sack' workers were "simply not true", that posties enjoy "the best pay and conditions in our industry" and that the union had rejected a best and final offer of a nine per cent rise.

Mr Rowley, Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said: “I was pleased to meet and support striking CWU postal workers who are rightly concerned about the impact Royal Mail’s plans to slash jobs and change terms and conditions will have on their employment.

“Royal Mail’s attempts to casualise their workforce into yet another gig economy-style courier service would mean the end of the postal service as we know it and is a threat to universal mail delivery that our economy relies on."

He said the CWU had warned of Royal Mail’s attempts to end daily deliveries, a levelling-down of terms, pay and conditions of postal workers and changing the service into a gig economy-style parcel courier.

The MSP continued: “I am calling on people to get behind their postie in their campaign to protect their jobs, protect the postal service and gain a fair pay deal.

"Whether here in Fife or across the country, the postal service must be defended and protected from the profiteers who want to strip the assets, maximise the profits they can get and run the door-to-door service into the ground.

"This cannot be allowed to happen.”

Mr Rowley added: “Royal Mail should never have been privatised in the first place – people rely on the services that Royal Mail provide, and its importance to the country’s economy is evident in the disruption these strikes are already causing during the busy Christmas delivery period.

“It is essential that Royal Mail fulfil the request of CWU general secretary Dave Ward to begin treating their workers with respect and meet with the union to resolve this dispute as a matter of urgency.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: "As recently as November 28, we wrote to Mr Ward to correct his false allegations that Royal Mail is planning to 'sack' thousands of workers and wants to become 'another courier company'.

"This is simply not true. We have already announced that reductions in 10,000 full-time equivalent roles – which have become necessary as a result of industrial action, the need for better productivity and lower parcel volumes following the pandemic – will be achieved through natural attrition, reducing temporary workers and a generous voluntary redundancy scheme which has been oversubscribed.

"We are proud to have the best pay and conditions in our industry.

"In an industry dominated by the 'gig economy', insecure work and low pay, our model sets us apart, and we want to preserve it.

"Despite losing more than £1 million a day and already offering a package that pays up to 40 per cent more than our competitors, we have made a best and final pay offer worth up to nine per cent. This has been rejected by the CWU."