Postal staff walk out over dispute

PUBLISHED: 11:48 05 July 2007 | UPDATED: 12:35 04 May 2010

ON STRIKE: Ely postal workers on the picket line on Friday. 	Photo: NEIL BARBOUR.

ON STRIKE: Ely postal workers on the picket line on Friday. Photo: NEIL BARBOUR.

ANGRY postal workers from Ely picketed the Royal Mail Delivery Office on Lisle Lane on Friday in the first 24-hour national strike in more than a decade. More than 90 per-cent of the 114 Royal Mail employees in Ely supported the strike which has been caus

ANGRY postal workers from Ely picketed the Royal Mail Delivery Office on Lisle Lane on Friday in the first 24-hour national strike in more than a decade.

More than 90 per-cent of the 114 Royal Mail employees in Ely supported the strike which has been caused by a dispute concerning pay and work practices.

A spokesperson for the Ely office said, "This dispute is not strictly about pay. Royal Mail wants to change our working practices, which would mean that there would be job losses."

A final attempt at talks was held between The Communication Workers Union and Royal Mail last Wednesday evening, ending in an unresolved disagreement. Shortly afterwards, strike action was threatened.

Across the country, an estimated 130,000 workers were expected to support the strike, threatening to pose the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown his first major crisis.

The Communication Workers Union has rejected Royal Mail's first offer of a 2.5 per-cent increase in pay, which is well below the current rate of inflation.

In addition to the pay offer, Royal Mail is proposing changes in working practices which would result in the loss of 40,000 jobs nationwide. Ely's CWU spokesperson added this would also mean that jobs could be cut at Ely.

"The changes in working practice that Royal Mail is proposing would mean that we would lose six jobs here in an area which is continually expanding."

"We're also worried about the impact upon the public. Royal Mail wants its workers to start later, which means delivery times would suffer."

The strike, which was due to end at 3am on Saturday, is the first in a potential series of protests which could cripple mail deliveries in the area.

Stressing the Union's viewpoint, the spokesperson added: "The Communication Workers Union is not against modernisation. We simply want any new agreements to be negotiated properly.

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