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Postal strike hits residents AGAIN

PUBLISHED: 11:42 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:59 25 August 2010

THE postal service has been thrown into chaos by yet another strike, leaving thousands of people waiting days for their mail.

THE postal service has been thrown into chaos by yet another strike, leaving thousands of people waiting days for their mail.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) in London has been holding industrial action since last Saturday in the ongoing bitter dispute over selling off part of Royal Mail.

Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich residents have been affected by the strike, which has involved some 12,000 workers and is planned to last until this Saturday.

London divisional representative Martin Walsh said: "We are disappointed that Royal Mail management have turned down our offer of talks which only shows they are being controlled by the government.

"They do not wish to enter into talks as their view of modernisation is to rubbish the service the public gets and turn its back on working people. We are up for change but are not prepared to let management or government rubbish a great public service just so they can sell it."

The CWU has accused Royal Mail of backtracking on an agreement by cutting jobs and pay. The union staged a three-day walkout on July 8 over the same issues.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson stoked the fury of workers when he accused them of having a "head in the sand" attitude.

Mr Walsh retaliated: "We do not have our heads in the sand when it comes to the challenges that Royal Mail face.

"We want automation, better industrial relations and faster progress on modernisation.

"Postal workers cannot continue with the levels of cuts on hours, jobs and wages by aggressive management which we are currently experiencing. Staff are nearing breaking point and services will be hit if modernisation isn't brought forward."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson's Postal Services Bill is proposing to part privatise the publicly-owned Royal Mail service. The government maintains it needs to sell off at least 30 per cent of the company for £3 billion to bail out the pension deficit of £6 billion.

Lord Mandelson has argued that email is killing Royal Mail and that it is time to modernise.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: "Having met the union more than 50 times in recent months, it is increasingly clear that the CWU refuses to believe that mail volumes are declining despite clear evidence of this.

"We again condemn the CWU for striking over much-needed modernisation. The changes are all covered by the 2007 agreement on pay and modernisation which the CWU leadership signed in the presence of the TUC but which they are now reneging on in a way that clearly hurts our customers and our people and damages Royal Mail. The union claims to support modernisation, yet acts to destroy it.

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