Poll shows public supports strikers in postal dispute

Setback for management and ministers as 30 million letters delayed by strike

The striking postal workers have twice as much public support as the Royal Mail management, according to the first opinion poll since the dispute began.

As the Royal Mail admitted that 30 million letters had been delayed by the two-day strike which ended last night, a ComRes survey for the BBC found that 50 per cent of people sympathise most with the postal workers and only 25 per cent with the management.

The finding is a setback to the Royal Mail and to ministers, who had expected the public to be more hostile to industrial action in the run-up to Christmas. According to ComRes, men (31 per cent) are more likely to sympathise with the management than are women (19 per cent). Twice as many people in the top AB social group sympathise with the Royal Mail (33 per cent) than do in the bottom DE social group (16 per cent).

Two out of three people (68 per cent) do not believe the Royal Mail should be privatised, while only 22 per cent think that it should be. Fifty-six per cent think the Royal Mail will continue as the sole provider of door-to-door delivery for less than five years and 13 per cent believe that will last for less than a year.

The image of the friendly neighbourhood postman has long faded. Only one in seven people knows the name of their postman and in the south-east the figure is only one in four. The Royal Mail said the number of letters delayed was about 40 per cent of an average daily post bag. It condemned the strikes as "unnecessary and irresponsible".

A spokesman said: "We are very grateful to the 20 per cent of our delivery staff who have chosen to come to work and who are doing everything possible to get all delayed mail delivered to customers as quickly as possible over the next few days."

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) confirmed there will be a three-day strike from next Thursday involving over 120,000 workers. It said that this week's action by 78,000 delivery and collection workers was "solidly supported".

The union said it would accept unconditional talks at the conciliation service Acas to try to break the deadlock over pay, jobs and modernisation. Dave Ward, its deputy general secretary, said: "We have six days before any further strike action would take place. Given the progress we were making in talks earlier this week, this should be enough time to reach an agreement. We want to go to Acas with no preconditions on either side to resolve this dispute."

Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, dismissed the union's claim that he was orchestrating the Royal Mail's response to the strike as "complete stuff and nonsense from beginning to end".

He said: "What is at the heart of this dispute is the nature and speed of change at the Royal Mail and the modernisation that is necessary to secure its future." Blaming the strike on London-dominated hardline CWU branches accused of scuppering a peace deal, he said the relationship "between the management and parts of the CWU has broken down, and they have got to put it back together again and they have got to do so by talking, by negotiation rather than strike action."

Next week's 24-hour strikes will involve 43,700 staff across Britain in mail centres, delivery units in mail centres, network logistic drivers and garage staff on Thursday; 400 workers in Plymouth, Stockport and Stoke who deal with poorly-addressed mail on Friday; and 77,000 delivery and collection workers on Saturday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas