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Last Updated: Monday, 15 October 2007, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
Postal union deal talks adjourned
Striking Royal Mail workers
Postal workers would vote on the deal's conditions by post
Postal workers' union leaders have adjourned their meeting over whether to accept a deal to end nationwide strike action at the Royal Mail.

The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) said the mood had been "sombre" and discussions would resume on Tuesday.

The BBC has learned that under a deal outlined on Friday, CWU members will get a 6.9% pay rise over 18 months.

A ballot of 130,000 workers will be called if the CWU accepts the Royal Mail settlement.

Despite Friday's agreement, some wildcat action continued on Monday.

Liverpool and parts of London are affected by the unofficial action, which is likely to add to the backlog of mail in these areas.

Leaders of the CWU started to present the terms of the deal to the union's executive at their headquarters in Wimbledon, south-west London, just after 1400 BST and ended at around 1930 BST.

Hard-fought

DEAL POINTS
6.9% pay rise from 1 October 07 to 1 April 09
Consultation on ending final salary pension scheme
Flexible working to be trialled and agreed locally

Any ballot of Royal Mail workers would be by post, with each member getting one vote.

A simple majority would be required to approve the deal, and the results would be declared one month later.

Neither side in the dispute, which began in June, has yet commented on the terms of an agreement, and the full details are expected to be released after the meeting.

However, the BBC understands that the 6.9% pay rise over 18 months will consist of a 5.4% pay rise between 1 October 2007 and 1 April 2008, followed by a 1.5% pay rise from 1 April 2008 to 1 April 2009. Workers will also receive a lump sum payment of 175.

In addition, the CWU has agreed to support consultation on ending the current final salary pension scheme.

On the question of Royal Mail's modernisation plans - which include the introduction of more flexible working patterns - there is said to be no UK-wide agreement.

Instead, the BBC has learned that there will be a number of trials and that changes will be agreed locally by unions and regional Royal Mail management.

The CWU has previously said that the Royal Mail's modernisation plans would cost 40,000 jobs.

Tough battle

A series of 48-hour stoppages and unofficial walkouts has brought chaos to the postal network in recent weeks, left a huge backlog of undelivered mail, and is estimated to have cost the Royal Mail more than 200m.

I think there is a sensible deal that's been hammered out, and I think everyone is just hoping that now the union will support this on Monday
Business and Enterprise Secretary John Hutton

Friday's deal came hours after the Royal Mail won an injunction at London's High Court outlawing a new wave of scheduled strikes.

Business and Enterprise Secretary John Hutton told BBC One's Andrew Marr show on Sunday that he hoped the dispute could now be brought to an end.

He said it had damaged Royal Mail, but he backed the firm's management and said the proposed deal would put the business on a more competitive footing.

"I think there is a sensible deal that's been hammered out, and I think everyone is just hoping that now the union will support this on Monday," said Mr Hutton.

Royal Mail said in a statement over the weekend: "We will deal with all mail in the order in which we received it, and will reinstate all service guarantees and promises as soon as we are able to honour them."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Postal workers picket a distribution centre



SEE ALSO
Postal union urged to accept deal
14 Oct 07 |  Business
Royal Mail and union reach deal
13 Oct 07 |  Business
Brown urges end of postal strikes
10 Oct 07 |  Business
Behind the picket line
04 Oct 07 |  Business
Q&A: Postal strike and you
04 Oct 07 |  Business
What is the postal strike about?
12 Oct 07 |  Business

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