Postal union sets deadline

Royal Mail employees are responsible for almost one in three working days lost in British industry through industrial action, according to internal management estimates.

The 38,000 days lost through strikes in 1984-85, often involving unlawful wildcat stoppages, are seen as a symptom of a general breakdown in relations between management and their employees throughout the country.

Many of the strikes have been sparked by fears over the future of the service. In particular, the Royal Mail is accused of deliberately delaying the first delivery to accommodate post that should be sent out later.

Within the last 12 months, the Royal Mail has been hit by walkouts all over Britain, with the most most disruptive action hitting services in Scotland, London and the North-East.

At the heart of the union's concerns is a fear over the thousands of jobs that could be lost if the second delivery becomes extinct.

Negotiators on behalf of the Union of Communication Workers are seeking assurances from management over the second post and have issued a deadline of 17 January.

If the union remains unsatisfied, senior union representatives are to call for a ballot on national strike action.