Thousands of British postal workers to strike

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The Independent Online

More than 12,000 British postal workers are set to strike this week in protest at cuts and management action at Royal Mail, the Communication Workers Union said today.

The CWU said workers in London, Scotland, central, eastern and southwest England would take part in the strike on Friday.

The action would have a significant impact on deliveries and collections in the areas affected, particularly London where all staff were due to strike, the union said.

The Royal Mail said the vast majority of its employees nationwide would be at work, with more than 90 percent of its 180,000 workers still delivering mail and over 90 percent of its offices unaffected.

Dave Ward, the union's deputy general secretary, said there had been a growing number of requests from staff for industrial action in protest at the actions of Royal Mail managers and that without progress on the dispute, the row could turn into a national strike.

"There are serious and growing problems in the postal sector which urgently need resolving," he said. "The current cuts, bullying managers and ever increasing workloads on a shrinking workforce cannot continue. Pressure and stress is at breaking point for postal workers."

The Royal Mail said the union was trying to halt modernisation to the detriment of its customers. "Royal Mail will be doing everything possible during the strike to provide as complete a service as possible to customers," it said.

Earlier this month the government suspended plans to sell parts of Royal Mail, which has a large pension deficit and has seen business fall because of competition from other operators and the growth of email, due to adverse market conditions.

The proposal had been to sell up to 30 percent of the company to make it more efficient and competitive, but the part-privatisation plan had been condemned by some Labour lawmakers and unions.