Britain set for fresh post strikes

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Postal workers in Britain would stage more strikes next week, trade union leaders said Friday, as their battle with bosses over modernisation, pay and jobs escalated.

London - Postal workers in Britain would stage more strikes next week, trade union leaders said Friday, as their battle with bosses over modernisation, pay and jobs escalated.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said a third set of strikes would take place on November 6 and November 9, with up to 120,000 members walking out on both days.

The industrial action is disrupting mail services at a time when state-owned Royal Mail is losing business as fewer people send letters and competition from the private sector grows.

The fresh strikes will also increase tensions amid fears of huge disruption to Christmas post.

Four days of strikes have already been held, with a fifth set for Saturday, when 77,000 delivery and collection staff are set to take industrial action.

Trades Union Congress General Secretary Brendan Barber, who has chaired the talks between Royal Mail managers and the CWU, said the two sides had some way to go before finalising settlement terms.

He said both sides would consider "a number of proposals" over the weekend "with a view to returning to the TUC for further negotiations early next week".

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said there was a backlog of 35 million items due to this week's strikes, though almost all the 30 million items delayed by last week's industrial action had been cleared.

Royal Mail "continues to do all it reasonably and legally can to clear mail delayed by the CWU's strikes and get the post to our customers as soon as possible", she said.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: "We will be upping the dispute. We will not be scaling it down. There is every prospect that we will increase the action and we could be looking at longer strikes."

AFP/Expatica

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