Postal workers say they will not tackle ‘mail mountains’ that have built up over two weeks at a large distribution centre in Dartford, East London unless they are paid overtime.
More than one million letters may never be delivered and tens of millions more will take weeks because of postal strikes, the Daily Mail reports.
However, Royal Mail is refusing to pay out because it does not want to ‘reward’ the strikers.
Union officials say it will take days to clear huge amounts of mail at centres in Birmingham, Peterborough, Warrington and Northampton – there is a backlog of more than 30 million stockpiled letters, parcels and bills.
And hundreds of Royal Mail drivers are expected to stop work next week.
More than 230 Royal Mail facilities have stopped work on at least one occasion over the past 12 weeks.
A CWU spokesman said: “There have been serious problems with mail stockpiling and it’s still there. The fact that they’re not offering overtime as some sort of punishment charter is ridiculous and we believe their use of agency staff to clear the backlog is illegal.”
Royal Mail disputes the size of the backlog, estimating it is nearer to nine million letters and parcels. A spokesman said: “We will deliver any mail that is left over from the strike action as quickly as possible. Strikes have affected some offices and we’re using management volunteers to cope with this.”
The Communication Workers Union is also balloting 121,000 postal workers over plans to hold a national strike during the run-up to Christmas. The result will be announced on 8 October.