A union representing 115,000 postal workers at Royal Mail is giving formal notice of a ballot that could lead to strikes in a bitter row over pay and jobs.

As rail and Tube workers staged the biggest national rail strike for 33 years on Tuesday, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) added to the combative mood by saying it was preparing a vote after rejecting the company’s pay award offer.

Its deputy general secretary, Terry Pullinger, said in a video posted on Twitter: “Today we will be serving a notice on Royal Mail Group over a pay claim, our claim for an inflation-based no strings pay award.

“The company has imposed 2% pay award, miles away from where inflation is, totally inadequate.”

Inflation, currently at 9%, is set to surpass 11% in October, according to the most recent forecast by the Bank of England.

The result of the ballot will be known by 19 July.

“At that point, depending on where we are, we will make a decision as whether we need to take industrial action, and if there has been no movement that is exactly what we will be recommending,” Mr Pullinger added.

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Last week: Royal Mail boss on pay talks

Royal Mail boss Simon Thompson told Sky News last week how it had offered a 5.5% pay rise and passed on – with no strings attached – a 2% hike to help its workers navigate the cost of living crisis while talks with the CWU continued.

It suggested that the remainder was conditional on the union accepting the company’s need to modernise as it aims to become a parcels-focused business due to the gradual decline in letter volumes.

Royal Mail said further talks are due to be held and it still hoped to resolve the dispute.

A spokesperson said: “We believe there are no grounds for industrial action.

“We offered a deal worth up to 5.5% for CWU grade colleagues, the biggest increase we have offered for many years, which was rejected by the CWU.”