17 February 2006

City postal staff 'to end strike'

BBC

Striking Belfast postal workers have apparently decided to end two weeks of unofficial industrial action and return to work.

Royal Mail called on staff to end their action after it agreed to a review of employee relations.

A Communication Workers Union spokesman said the strike would be called off if there was a consensus amongst members that the proposals were acceptable.

About 200 strikers discussed the offer at Transport House in Belfast.

The union had said it wanted assurances from the company that it would not interfere with the independent body brought in to review employee relations at the firm.

It also said it did not want its members victimised when they returned to work.

On Thursday, the company said it had given the union the assurances it had asked for.

It said there was no longer any reason for the strike action to continue.

Workers at Tomb Street in Belfast began an unofficial strike on 31 January after staff alleged harassment by managers. Royal Mail denied the claims.

Mail deliveries have been disrupted, with Belfast the worst affected area.

Royal Mail has said mail sent from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic was now being dispatched, although that mail posted to Britain and internationally was still affected by the strike.

On Monday, Royal Mail said it would allow a third party to look at future relations between management and employees if workers returned to work immediately.

The company's offer also required staff to agree to a 12-month ban on industrial action.

Royal Mail has said that it will take three to four weeks to clear up the backlog of post once the strike is over.

Customers needing more information and advice have been advised to contact the company's helpline number on 08457 740740.

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