London Postal Workers Consider Christmas Week Strike

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The London divisional committee of the Communication Workers Union, which represents Royal Mail postal workers in Great Britain, is calling for 24-hour strikes in London on Dec. 19 and 22 to protest what it said was a lack of progress in contract negotiations.


A series of unofficial 24-hour strikes were staged in London in October, crippling mail deliveries and costing Royal Mail millions of dollars. More than 25,000 postal workers participated in each strike.


The union seeks allowances of $6,600 (U.S.) a year to accommodate higher London living costs. Royal Mail has offered $6,244. A deadline of Dec. 10 has been set for agreement.


A Royal Mail spokesman said he had not been notified of any strike threat.


Meanwhile, Postcomm, the postal regulator, accused Royal Mail last week of breaching its license, saying that it had offered discounts to catalog mailers that could be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading.


In a statement released Nov. 26, Postcomm said that it "has received information which suggests that Royal Mail is offering substantial discounts to attract catalog mail. These discounts have not been notified by Royal Mail to Postcomm or published in accordance with ... its license. They were also subject to confidentiality agreements."


Reportedly, the discounts were up to 35 pence.


Royal Mail said it was researching a promotional program with about 20 customers who received discounted mail service for mailing additional catalogs.


"Postcomm seems to have misconstrued Royal Mail's market research ... Royal Mail is convinced it has behaved properly and fairly at all times," Royal Mail said in a statement.


Postcomm issued a provisional order requiring Royal Mail to provide detailed "information about the alleged discounts, to maintain all documents and records, and to refrain from departing from its published tariffs without proper notice to Postcomm."


Royal Mail told Postcomm that it would comply with the order.


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