U.K. Union Plans Further Strikes at Royal Mail on Nov. 6, 9

The Communication Workers Union called two more days of strikes at the U.K.’s Royal Mail Group Plc starting next week, and negotiators plan to resume talks in the dispute over job security and work rules.

The strikes will be on Nov. 6 and Nov. 9, Billy Hayes, the union’s general secretary, said in a televised statement today.

“There’s no need for these strikes to take place if we are all able to get our minds focused” on negotiations, Hayes said.

Royal Mail said the union plan was “irresponsible.” The CWU called three days of national walkouts at state-owned Royal Mail this week and two days last week. Around 77,000 mail carriers will walk off the job tomorrow. The union represents 121,000 Royal Mail workers.

Brendan Barber, the Trades Union Congress chief who is moderating the negotiations, said the two sides will meet early next week to discuss “possible approaches to some of the big issues” in the dispute.

He said he hopes the company and the union “will be able to make a breakthrough to an agreement.”

The two sides disagree on issues such as how to secure jobs as state-owned Royal Mail spends 2 billion pounds on modernization measures such as new equipment that speeds letter sorting. The company says it has cut 26,300 jobs since 2004.

Royal Mail said in an e-mail today that the strikes this week and last week by the CWU have created a backlog of 35 million pieces of mail. The company delivers 75 million letters and packages a day.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Heather Langan at hlangan@bloomberg.net.

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