Wildcat postal strikes spread across country

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Wildcat postal strikes spread across the country yesterday, severely disrupting mail services.

Unofficial walkouts in London, Oxford, Essex and Lanarkshire meant unsorted mail mounted in sorting offices while a growing number of mail centres were picketed by strikers.

Emergency talks between Royal Mail officials and union leaders ended last night without agreement.

Dave Ward, deputy general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, accused the Royal Mail of "declaring war" on postal workers. Local managers were also accused of "attacking, humiliating and belittling" union members who took official strike action two weeks ago in a row over London weighting. The dispute centred on the suspension of a driver and swiftly spread to other centres after Royal Mail attempted to shift post to other offices.

Business leaders warned yesterday that the strikes were inflicting serious damage on thousands of companies.