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Wednesday, 6 December, 2000, 09:22 GMT
Postal staff back to work
Royal Mail is working to clear postal backlog after strike
Royal Mail is working to clear postal backlog
Postal staff in Northern Ireland have started to work on the backlog of mail following the end of their six-day strike.

There was believed to be a backlog of more than a million items of unsorted mail as a result of the action which began last Thursday.

The unofficial dispute, which involved about 1,000 Royal Mail employees, was over the introduction of new working practices involving different schedules for processing mail.

The industrial action was called off on Tuesday but some of the workers indicated that there could be more disruption after Christmas.

Mail was delivered in parts of Belfast on Wednesday for the first time since the action began.

The Royal Mail's Fintan Bradley said it was business as usual.

Mr Bradley said: "The atmosphere is productive and people have come back to work and are happy to be back to work.

"Any outstanding issues between management and the unions will be resolved through discussion and the appropriate channels over the next couple of weeks."

The result of the ballot was not unanimous and there is still the threat of further action after Christmas.

Proposals 'clarified'

On Tuesday, the striking workers were asked to vote on the same proposals they rejected on Monday.

But it is understood that Royal Mail managers clarified these proposals on the working practices at a meeting with union representatives on Tuesday morning.

The strike began when 500 workers at Royal Mail's main sorting centre in Mallusk, Newtownabbey, joined about 250 other members of staff in Belfast city centre who had walked out.

The Royal Mail said the key issue was the "need to make use of unproductive time between deliveries" so that customers had mail delivered earlier in the morning.

The company said the changes which had been made still "enabled postmen to finish prior to the time to which they were paid".

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See also:

05 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Postal strike ends after ballot
04 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Strike prompts Christmas post fears
04 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Postal strike talks resume
02 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Still no agreement in postal dispute
26 Nov 99 | Scotland
Anger over postal strike vote
17 Nov 00 | Scotland
Post peace talks end
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