Page last updated at 00:03 GMT, Friday, 17 July 2009 01:03 UK

Post strike over job and pay cuts

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Mail deliveries and collections in the east of Scotland are being disrupted

Mail deliveries and collections in the east of Scotland have been disrupted as postal workers take part in a one-day strike over job and pay cuts.

Royal Mail said 479 people at 11 delivery offices had walked out.

About 150 collection and delivery drivers were also understood to be taking part in the dispute.

The Communication Workers Union claims Royal Mail is cutting jobs and salaries without agreement and modernisation problems urgently needed resolving.

The areas affected are Edinburgh, Bathgate, Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline, Anstruther, Alloa, Dalkeith, Bo'ness and Grangemouth.

The union has offered a three-month, no-strike deal in return for meaningful talks over modernisation, but Royal Mail has dismissed this as "misleading nonsense".

Royal Mail said it was doing "everything possible" to provide as complete a service as it could during the strike.

Pay freeze

It accused the union of constantly resisting the introduction of new technology and more efficient working practices.

There are 12,000 postal workers striking across the UK in areas including Bristol, Darlington and Plymouth.

Dave Ward, the CWU's deputy general secretary, accused the firm of cutting jobs, freezing pay and hitting services, saying that a latest round of cuts was "arbitrary and illogical."

He added: "Without new machinery or improvements in deliveries and industrial relations postal services will be drastically hit.

"There's nothing modern in cutting jobs and hours and imposing a pay freeze.

"We need genuine talks on how to modernise the Royal Mail."

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "The CWU's claim to have offered a three-month moratorium is deliberately misleading and is nothing more than an attempt, backed by the threat of escalating strike action, to actually halt the modernisation of the Mail's business.

"Any moratorium on further change at Royal Mail, at a time when we urgently need to up the pace of change in the face of a 10% decline in UK mail volumes, can only worsen that decline."

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