Consignia, Union Near Deal Over Job Losses

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Consignia and the postal workers' union have struck a tentative deal over job losses at the Post Office that would avoid firings.

United Kingdom-based Consignia, which runs Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide and the Post Office, has already announced plans to lay off 15,000 Parcelforce workers and is reportedly considering another 15,000 cuts at the Post Office.

Officials at the Communication Workers Union said an agreement negotiated this week guarantees that all job losses will be voluntary through early retirement and other measures. In addition, Consignia would promise to find alternative jobs in the organization and protect pay levels for all employees whose jobs are eliminated.

The union leadership is expected to decide today whether to back the agreement, which is likely to cost Consignia $574 million. Consignia has estimated that the Parcelforce layoffs would save it $530.3 million.

Problems remain over pay, however, and the two sides are to go to mediation to settle disagreement over a recent settlement.

Meanwhile, according to the CWU, more than 1,000 postal workers from across England will meet April 10 in London to garner support for the Post Office. They will lobby their members of Parliament at Westminster, urging politicians to support five guarantees:

• That daily postal deliveries to every address in the country will continue.

• That postage will remain on the basis of an affordable single-price stamp.

• That postal regulator Postcomm withdraws its plans to end the postal monopoly.

• That the government puts up the money to fund a first-class public postal service.

• That jobs are protected for postal workers.

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