Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 11:09 UK

Postal staff start more strikes

Postal worker during earlier strikes in August
Workers will strike on different days in locations around the UK

Workers at Royal Mail have started strikes following a disagreement over cuts to jobs and services.

The strikes will run on selected days between 17 and 24 August.

They have already begun in Coventry, London, Leamington Spa, Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent and will continue across the UK.

The union says Royal Mail is failing to invest in modernisation and is cutting jobs without agreement. Royal Mail says the union opposes necessary changes.

'Modernisation'

This phase of strikes comes before the the Communication Workers Union (CWU) aims to issue a national ballot in September on industrial action.

It has argued that the reduction in jobs would compromise the quality of services provided.

A spokesperson for CWU told the BBC said there were differences over what each side saw as modernisation, hence the recent deadlock in talks.

The shift online for some services, such as banking, had reduced some traditional mail, but on the other hand, people were shopping far more online, so more packages were being delivered, she explained.

STRIKE LOCATIONS
17 August: London, Coventry, Leamington Spa, Nottingham, Stoke-on-Trent
19 August: Birmingham, Coventry, London, Essex, Peterborough, Bristol, Leeds
20 August: Peterborough
21 August: Peterborough, Kings Lynn
22 August: Boston, Carrickfergus
24 August: Skegness, Huntingdon

New equipment is needed to address this change, she said.

"We expect thousands of jobs to go, but for those left behind, we want job security agreement, with decent terms and conditions."

The CWU represents some 160,000 Royal Mail workers, but the current dispute involves about 130,000 people.

Normal service

Meanwhile, Royal Mail said it was urging the union to call off its strikes and "join Royal Mail's drive to complete the modernisation of the business as we tackle the intensifying competition from electronic media and the impact of the recession on mail volumes, now falling at around 10% a year".

"The CWU is again saying one thing and doing another - publicly, they say they want modernisation, yet they write regularly to members saying union policy is to oppose change on the ground," said the Royal Mail.

The Royal Mail said more than 90% of its workforce, and more than 90% of its operational units, would be working normally this week.

Royal Mail said it had "already condemned the CWU for striking locally over much-needed modernisation and change, which has already been successfully implemented in the majority of offices around the UK and is working well".

The strikes affect collections, deliveries and sorting offices differently depending on the area, throughout the week.

The strikes come in what is the fourth and final phase of a pay deal that was agreed in 2007 between the two sides.



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