UK postal workers go on strike

A second 24-hour strike by Royal Mail staff was under way Friday as part of a row over pay and job security, their union said.

UK postal workers go on strike

A second 24-hour strike by Royal Mail staff was under way Friday as part of a row over pay and job security, their union said.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said up to 130,000 of its members walked out last night. An earlier stoppage took place last month.

Eleventh-hour talks last Wednesday between the union and Royal Mail chairman Alan Leighton failed to break the impasse over pay. The CWU is in dispute with the Royal Mail over the company's 2.5 percent pay offer.

Locked in battle, union officials have argued that workers' pay should rise in line with inflation, which Royal Mail says it cannot afford.

Royal Mail's modernisation plans are also a bone of contention, as the CWU says these will lead to the loss of 40,000 jobs.

But the company said that changes are essential in order to compete with rival mail firms and needs to spend a 1.2 billion pounds loan from the British Government on investing in new technology to transform its operations, not on higher wages.

CWU General Secretary Billy Hayes told the BBC that the Royal Mail was not taking the strikes "very seriously".

The union was unhappy because the Royal Mail chairman did not meet union officials face to face in the last round of talks to settle the dispute, but instead spoke to them in a 40-minute conference call. Hayes suggested further action would be taken if necessary.
Since Royal Mail lost its monopoly status on post deliveries from 1st of January 2006, 17 operators have entered the UK mail market, creating fierce competition for the post office group, particularly in the more profitable business post sector.

Royal Mail has said it has already lost about 40 percent of its bulk mail business to rival postal operators.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Temmuz 2007, 16:15
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