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Betrayed postal staff will strike once more’

PUBLISHED: 16:39 13 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:40 25 August 2010

POSTAL workers are preparing to strike again after accusing the government of running Royal Mail into the ground to make privatisation look better.

POSTAL workers are preparing to strike again after accusing the government of 'running Royal Mail into the ground' to make privatisation look better.

Following a ballot on Tuesday, the London membership of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) said industrial action was a "means necessary to preserve Royal Mail as a respected and cherished public service."

The wildcat threats come after Labour rebels were defeated in the House of Lords earlier this week over Business Secretary Lord Mandelson's Postal Services Bill to part privatise the publicly owned company.

The government maintains it needs to sell off at least 30 per cent of Royal Mail for £3 billion to bail out the pension deficit of £6 billion.

During the debate Lord Mandelson argued that email is killing the company and said it was time to modernise.

Five branches in Bexley and Greenwich were earmarked for closure in January last year including: Blackheath Hill, Blackheath; Brampton Road, Bexleyheath; High Street, Eltham; Plumstead Common Road, Plumstead and Woolwich Road, Greenwich.

Lord Mandelson said: "Our goal is to put a publicly-owned Royal Mail on a clear and swift path to modernisation and, in so doing, to secure the future of the universal postal service."

But postal staff accused the government of trying to trick the public.

CWU spokesperson for London, Martin Walsh, said: "It is clear that Royal Mail is deliberately running down the service ahead of partial privatisation.

"The strike ballot in London is about defending the future of Royal Mail and the services it provides to the public, as well as protecting our members against Royal Mail's slash-and-burn policy to rubbish the system so privatisation looks better. The public are a lot more sophisticated and won't fall for that old trick."

The Bill will have its third reading in the House of Lords this Wednesday before being passed to the House of Commons for debate.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: "Royal Mail urges the CWU to call off their ballot. We have been open with our people that modernisation means fewer jobs and our strong record shows that when we have to reduce jobs, we have done so through natural turnover and voluntary redundancy.

"Royal Mail has not forced anyone who is full-time to work part-time and nor will we. With our firm commitment to a six-days-a-week Universal Service to all addresses, we will continue to be one of the largest employers in London and the country."

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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