UK Postal Workers Reach Deal, Return to Work

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British postal workers began returning to work yesterday after a deal was reached to end a series of unofficial strikes.


More than 20,000 postal workers took part in the unofficial strikes, which began two weeks ago after some drivers in west London were suspended following an official 24-hour strike in London by members of the Communication Workers Union over allowances for postal workers living in that city. The strikes quickly spread through London and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.


Workers returned to their jobs yesterday after all-night negotiations with Royal Mail officials and leaders of the union.


"The Royal Mail and the CWU are both pleased to have reached an understanding that allows both parties to recommend a return to work," said a joint statement released by both sides. "We will be talking to our people today and will now go to [an arbitration service] to resolve all outstanding issues relating to pay."


Officials warned it could take at least a week to deliver the millions of letters and parcels that have piled up as a result of the wildcat strikes. All of London's 3,500 post boxes were closed over the weekend because of the mounting backlog of undelivered mail.


The strike already has cost Royal Mail a major deal with UK retailer Tesco, which switched delivery of online books to private firm Parcel-net, according to reports.


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