Royal Mail offers Acas talks if strikes halted

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The Independent Online

Royal Mail has offered to approach the conciliation service Acas to discuss its modernisation plans but only if the Communication Workers Union calls off planned strikes.

The CWU had called for independent mediation, a move which 98 MPs have backed by signing a Commons motion. The two sides have resumed talks aimed at avoiding action, due on Thursday and Friday, after the CWU attacked Royal Mail's decision to hire 30,000 temporary workers in an attempt to break the strike.

The courier company TNT, which recently offered to buy an equity stake in Royal Mail, is lobbying to be allowed to carry out door-to-door deliveries. Elsewhere British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh held "open and frank" talks with union leaders who are threatening to ballot cabin crew over strike action, and members of the Fire Brigades Union in South Yorkshire have walked out over job contracts.