Calls for end to strikes

POSTAL industry watchdog Postwatch today called for a speedy resolution of the dispute which has led to a series of strikes and slowed mail deliveries.

POSTAL industry watchdog Postwatch today called for a speedy resolution of the dispute which has led to a series of strikes and slowed mail deliveries.

Postwatch said customers in the East of England had suffered from the action, which began on June 29, and urged Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) to resolve the dispute over pay and modernisation.

The call came after the CWU announced further strikes to take place up to August 17.

Workers in Ipswich took part in strikes as recently as last week.

Postwatch said customers had suffered as a result of the industrial action, with post being delayed.

Dr Charles Winstanley, chairman of Postwatch East of England, said: “We have now had several weeks of postal strikes, and the damaging effects are becoming clearer by the day.

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“The longer the dispute continues, the worse the cumulative effects will be for customers and the postal industry. Confidence in the postal service will fall.

“We are already seeing evidence of this as customers who can use alternatives to the postal service are doing so. Those who cannot are experiencing delays and uncertainty.”

CWU members are unhappy with a 2.5per cent pay offer and modernisation plans which threaten jobs.

The CWU says Royal Mail's plans to introduce later delivery but earlier collection times will hurt the service.

Bob Gibson, CWU assistant secretary, said: “We believe that this is an unacceptable deterioration in service for small businesses and residential customers both in rural and urban areas.”

Royal Mail today said it remained in talks with the CWU with the aim of avoiding further industrial action.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Royal Mail deplores the move by the union, in spite of these talks, to attempt to cause further disruption to customers' mail.

“As the CWU is responsible for calling the strikes, they are clearly free to stop this damaging action at any time. Royal Mail urges them to do so, in the interests of our customers, our people, and the future of the business.”

Have you been affected by the postal strikes? Are you a Royal Mail employee worried about the changes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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