Royal Mail claims strike ballot is ‘premature’

The
Royal Mail is to call in Acas to help avert a pay strike it describes as
‘premature’.

The
Communication Workers Union is to ballot its members over a pay dispute.

The
union is seeking a 5 per cent pay rise and a commitment from the company that
it will increase basic pay to a minimum of £300 a week by October 2003, but the
Royal Mail is offering postmen and women an increase of 2 per cent.

"Sixty-five
per cent of our members are still working six days a week starting at 5.30am.
It is time for Consignia to treat its workforce fairly and decently," said
John Keggie, general secretary at the CWU.

"The
offer of an increase is worth less than £5 a week, when some directors are
earning over £4,000 a week – it is simply not on," he continued.

Mick
Linsell, Royal Mail’s managing director of service delivery, said: "A
ballot was premature as there was still scope for further negotiations. The
offer on the table would be improved by an additional 0.5 per cent on basic pay
if customer quality of service targets are meet. The cost of the deal to the
Royal Mail is some £60m."

The
Royal Mail employs around 160,000 postmen and women.

By Paul Nelson

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