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The Independent Online
The Royal Mail claimed more staff refused to strike this week than was previously thought and yesterday renewed calls for a ballot on its proposed pay deal. A Post Office spokesman said nearly 18,000 staff did not join Tuesday's industrial dispute compared with an earlier estimate of 14,000.

The Royal Mail believes that the Communication Workers' Union should ask its 138,000 members in the post service whether they accept an offer which was negotiated at the conciliation service, Acas, but later rejected by the CWU executive. "It is militants on the union's executive who, far from being democratic as they claim, are opposed to letting their members judge for themselves the deal on offer," the spokesman said. Management is sending all workers a copy of the proposed deal.

But Alan Johnson, the CWU's joint general secretary, said: "It's a great shame that Royal Mail are putting so much effort into producing meaningless statistics instead of sitting down with the union and trying to reach a negotiated settlement." Louise Jury