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Period of calm' reigns at Royal Mail, until 2010

PUBLISHED: 11:35 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 17:19 25 August 2010

RESIDENTS should receive their Christmas cards on time after striking postal staff agreed a truce with their management until after the festive period. Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) heralded negotiations with the Royal Mail last Wednes

RESIDENTS should receive their Christmas cards on time after striking postal staff agreed a truce with their management until after the festive period.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) heralded negotiations with the Royal Mail last Wednesday evening a success after reconciling to cancel all-out strike action which had been planned for this week.

Affected offices would have been in Bromley, Beckenham, West Wickham, Orpington, Blackheath, Sidcup, Eltham, Thamesmead, Bexleyheath, Charlton and Greenwich.

The CWU has also halted its quest to get an injunction against the company using agency staff to clear a four-million letter backlog.

Postal staff had been due to attend the High Court last Friday to begin legal action after claiming Royal Mail was breaking employment law by hiring temps to do the work of lawfully striking workers.

The union claimed three to four hundred of these workers were sorting post at a warehouse in Sandpit Lane, Dartford.

CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: "We can now have a period of calm where we hope we can genuinely take forward modernisation in a way that puts the union at the centre."

The two parties have been at loggerheads over proposals to modernise the postal service, working conditions and redundancies.

Mark Higson, managing director of Royal Mail Letters, said: "I'm delighted for our customers and our people that we've got back to a sensible agreement with the CWU that will allow us to deliver a great Christmas while getting on with vital talks about the long-term future of Royal Mail. It allows us to drive forward with the essential modernisation of Royal Mail in the New Year.

Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber, who has been mediating, said: "I am pleased to be able to report that after intensive negotiations over recent days an agreement has been reached between Royal Mail and the CWU.

"The agreement provides for a 'period of calm' free of industrial action to enable negotiations to be held over the next couple of months through to the end of the year to secure the longer term agreements necessary on all aspects of modernisation of Royal Mail.

"It also provides a way of resolving outstanding local disputes, and addresses all the issues of concern to the CWU and its members.

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