Postal workers threaten new pay strike over Christmas

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The Independent Online

Christmas mail deliveries were under fresh threat yesterday after leaders of postal workers authorised strike ballots in 120 key offices in London.

Union militants are threatening a stoppage on 20 December in a dispute over overtime payments, on top of strikes earmarked for 19 and 22 December over London weighting allowances.

The new strike threat has emerged amid accusations that management is attempting to limit the traditional amount of overtime worked by Royal Mail employees before Christmas. Sources at the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) said that the normal "seasonal haggle" over extra payment was considerably more serious this year because managers felt "bitter" about the industrial action last month, and were attempting to "get their own back" over industrial action last month.

A deadline of 10 December has been set for agreement between the two sides. While the Royal Mail normally handles around 82 million letters a day, in the run-up to Christmas that could rise to 135 million.