Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 16:44 UK

Royal Mail strike due on Saturday

Closed post box
The strike is the legacy of issues left over from 2007's post dispute

Post deliveries and collections in large areas of Bristol and Somerset are set to be halted on Saturday by a strike of Royal Mail workers.

Up to 900 members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) in 15 local centres may take part in the one-day stoppage.

The union says it has been forced to strike because cuts are being applied in the Bristol area without agreement.

Royal Mail accuses the union of reneging on a 2007 deal over modernisation of the service.

Post services in the BS post code areas 1, 3, 4, 8-11, 13-16, 20, 26, 31, 37,41 and 48 are liable to be disrupted.

Job security

David Wilsher, of Bristol & District CWU, accused the Royal Mail of "panic management".

He said: "There is no logic in these new plans. Mail will be delivered later and later in the day and this will be bad for the customers and hand work to Royal Mail's competitors."

He added that the industrial action, which was supported by a 70% majority of workers' balloted, could spread to the two main processing and distribution depots in the Bristol area, a development which could affect post services throughout the South West.

The union says it wants to persuade the management to discuss what cuts are feasible with them and to honour what they say is a pre-existing agreement to discuss pay terms and job security.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "Having met the union more than 50 times in recent months, it is increasingly clear that the CWU refuses to believe that mail volumes are declining despite the clear evidence of this.

"We condemn the CWU for striking locally over much-needed modernisation and change which has already been successfully implemented by our people in the majority of offices around the UK and is working well."

The spokesman added that people with concerns should call the customer service helpline on 08457 740740 or look at the service updates on the Royal Mail site.

The Bristol strikes are the latest in a series of sporadic action by the union, which has taken place in London and Scotland as well as locally.

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