Postal strikes hit 44 depots

Postal strikes will hit large areas of London and southern England this week. Postal workers will stage one-day strikes at 44 depots across south-west London, Essex and Bristol today, with further strikes expected later.

The executive of the Communications Workers Union is meeting today to decide whether to call a national strike. The CWU said on Thursday that postal workers had voted 76 per cent in favour of national action to protect jobs, pay and services. However, it has set no date for the industrial action, which must be notified seven days in advance.

A CWU spokeswoman said today's meeting was expected to last well into the evening, with no announcement in office hours. The union is due to meet Royal Mail's negotiators on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in an attempt to avert a national stoppage.

In the meantime, postal workers will go on strike today in London at Earl's Court, Wimbledon, Mortlake, Barnes, Battersea, Stockwell, South Kensington, Fulham, Streatham, West Wimbledon, and Wandsworth.

In the Bristol district they will strike at five central offices, Clevedon, Yate, Keynsham, Portishead, Clifton, Kingswood, Nailsea, Woolavington, Avonmouth, Fishponds, Westbury on Trym and Axbridge.

In Essex, affected areas are Chelmsford, Maldon, Ongar, Sawbridgeworth, South Woodham Ferrers, Stansted, Witham, Brentwood, Billericay, Bishop's Stortford, Braintree, Dunmow, Harlow and Boreham.