Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 17:43 UK

Fresh postal strikes due to start

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Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has said the CWU should "wake up"

More postal strikes will hit England and Northern Ireland this weekend, as a part of a continuing dispute over job cuts and modernisation.

Workers will walk out in Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Stockport in Cheshire, Boston in Lincolnshire and Hadfield in Derbyshire, for 24 hours.

The Communication Workers Union says postal staff are "facing a beating on all aspects of their working lives".

Royal Mail urged the union to call off the strikes.

Further walkouts by CWU members are planned next week in Skegness in Lincolnshire, Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, and Rochdale in Lancashire, as well as in Birmingham, Coventry, London, Middlesbrough and the Isle of Wight.

The union also says it is pressing ahead with plans to ballot all 130,000 postal workers across the country next month for a national strike.

'Breaking point'

Deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: "Never before have postal workers experienced so many attacks from all sides.

"Whether it's pay, job security, workload or dignity and respect at work, our members are facing a beating on all aspects of their working lives.

Any changes we are making are fully in line with the existing agreement on modernisation
Royal Mail spokesman

"Pressure and stress are rising to breaking point. It won't be long before services are dramatically affected."

Mr Ward said the union would call off all strike action "in return for meaningful negotiations on modernisation, pay and job security".

He also called for the government to do more to bolster the position of Royal Mail in the face of increased competition and falling mail volumes.

However, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has repeatedly refused to intervene in the row and has told the CWU to "wake up to the need for change".

A spokesman for Royal Mail said on Friday: "We cannot understand why the union is claiming to support modernisation when it's pursuing a policy of actively opposing the changes we need to make to ensure there's a successful future for the business, its people and its customers.

"Any changes we are making are fully in line with the existing agreement on modernisation."

There have been a series of postal strikes in recent weeks causing widespread disruption to deliveries.

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