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Postal workers to strike in November

Postal workers have voted in favour of a one-day strike over issues linked to the controversial privatisation of the Royal Mail.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) announced the strike will take place on 4 November – a busy postal period in the lead up to Christmas.

The CWU said the strike, which is the first at Royal Mail in almost four years, aims to protect workers jobs, terms and conditions and secure a pay rise. The union said it was hoping to agree a settlement in the next two weeks, which would avert strike action.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: "Postal workers have spoken very clearly that they care about their jobs, terms and conditions far more than they care about shares.

"Postal workers will not be the people who pay for the profits of private operators and faceless shareholders."

Ward said the CWU wants a "groundbreaking" agreement to protect workers job security, pensions and pay, and to determine the strategy, principles and values of the Royal Mail.

"There must be no further breakup of the company, no franchising of individual offices or delivery rounds, no introduction of a cheaper workforce on two-tier terms and conditions and no part time industry," Ward said.

"It will mean, regardless of who owns Royal Mail, this company will not be able to enter the race to the bottom and replicate the employment practices and service standards of their competitors."

Christmas disruption

In a statement, Royal Mail said: "Any action, or the threat of disruption, is damaging to our business, especially in the run up to Christmas."

It pointed to an Ipsos MORI survey which claims 72% of the British public said the CWU should accept the pay offer from the Royal Mail and call off the strike.

"Royal Mail will do all that we can to protect our business and minimise the impact of any industrial action on our customers' mail," the statement read.

In an attempt to improve labour relations relating to the privatisation of Royal Mail, workers were given free shares. Earlier this week, the Royal Mail confirmed full-time staff would receive 725 shares, worth £3,545.

The shares, which had their first full day of trading, are currently at 475p – below a 489p high, but well above their sale price of 330p.