Page last updated at 08:56 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 09:56 UK

Strike threat over new post plans

Sorting office
Royal Mail plans to implement the changes in 2009

Union officials have said they cannot rule out strike action over plans by Royal Mail to close a main sorting office in north-west England.

The Liverpool base is to be shut and moved to Warrington in a planned reorganisation, with 280 job losses.

Mail centres in Bolton, Oldham, and Stockport are also to close.

The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) said the plans would mean later deliveries and it believes job losses would be double Royal Mail estimates.

Under the proposals, a new regional distribution centre in Warrington and four new delivery offices will be built - three in Liverpool and one in Manchester.

Liverpool mail centre in Copperas Hill and Crewe mail centre in Weston Road would both relocate to Warrington.

Services 'compromised'

Mail centres at Stockport, Oldham and Bolton would also close and the mail they currently process would transfer to other centres.

The CWU said it would like further input on the proposals to put forward alternatives.

Ian Taylor, CWU's divisional officer, said the union accepted modernisation of services, but that the changes would compromise services.

He said: "We want an open and honest debate. The figure of 280 job losses is incredible. We put the figure at nearer 600.

"We would like to have had a more meaningful discussion, but Royal Mail has not changed its stance since the start of the consultation process, which we thought was ongoing."

Mail figures falling

Mr Taylor said strike action would be considered by members if Royal Mail "did not take on board valid arguments".

Although no delivery offices are to shut, Royal Mail said its centres in Manchester and Exchange Street, Stockport, would relocate to sites nearby.

Royal Mail Territory Director Steve Cameron said the changes were due to take place next year and that it was "committed to continuing to consult with the trade unions".

"It is essential that we have the most suitable postal network to enable us to compete effectively in the years ahead," he added.

"Mail volumes have fallen by 7% since 2005 and stamped mail is predicted to decline a further 30% in the next three years. We need to invest to defend our market share and to retain existing business and win new customers.

"We are also determined to provide a more modern working environment for our people."


SEE ALSO
Royal Mail job pledge to workers
08 Jul 08 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Sorting office 'strikes possible'
03 Jul 08 |  Coventry/Warwickshire

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