U.K. Postal Union Confirms Royal Mail Strikes Start Tomorrow

A U.K. union confirmed plans for three 24-hour strikes starting tomorrow at Royal Mail Group Plc in a dispute over job security and work rules.

“We tabled a proposal as part of the process that reflected the progress made in negotiations over the last few days,” Dave Ward, Communication Workers Union deputy general secretary said in an e-mailed statement today. “We have not had confirmation as to whether our proposal is acceptable and therefore the strikes previously announced for the next few days will take place”

Negotiators from the government-owned postal company and the union have held talks this week arranged by the Trades Union Congress after two days of nationwide strikes last week. The union, which represents 121,000 Royal Mail workers, wants to secure jobs as the company introduces equipment to boost efficiency.

“Royal Mail today condemned the CWU’s decision to walk away as peace talks were making significant progress and the union’s failure to call off this week’s industrial action,” it said in a separate statement.

The Royal Mail strikes have cost London businesses 500 million pounds ($818 million) so far and are delaying the U.K. capital’s economic recovery, the city’s Chamber of Commerce said on Oct. 26.

Royal Mail said last week’s strikes left a backlog of 2 million items awaiting delivery in London that it hopes to have cleared by the end of today. The company delivers 75 million letters and packages a day in the U.K.

Pension Deficit

The next round of walkouts will begin tomorrow at 4 a.m. among 43,700 mail center and distribution staff. Around 400 address readers will strike on Oct. 30 and all 77,000 mail carriers on Oct. 31.

Royal Mail has cut 63,000 jobs in the last five years, and has a pension deficit of at least 7 billion pounds. It had a net loss of 229 million pounds and revenue of 9.6 billion pounds in the year through March 29. It reported profit of 135 million pounds a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Lysaght in London at blysaght@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Deane at jdeane3@bloomberg.net.

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