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The Independent Online
More than 400 postal strike activists from all over Britain meet today amid signs that the Royal Mail could face serious competition if the Government allows private operators to deliver letters from Friday. TNT, the international distribution company, announced plans to establish a service for businesses in the Midlands if Royal Mail's letters monopoly is suspended. The Post Office believes that other operations are being set up for the City of London, in Portsmouth and the Midlands towns of Chesterfield, Derby and Mansfield.

The Government has threatened to allow private companies to compete with official services for three months if the Communication Workers' Union presses ahead with 24 hour strikes on Friday and Monday. The leadership believes that unless there is a change of mind, the CWU postal executive will tomorrow call further stoppages. Barrie Clement