16 February 2006

Post staff 'could return to work'

BBC

Postal staff in Belfast could go back to work on Thursday if they are assured they will not be victimised when they return, their union has said.

A national Communication Workers Union spokesman said they had written to Royal Mail asking them to clarify the offer they made earlier this week.

The un-official strike action has been on-going for two weeks.

"First and foremost we are looking for a guarantee that no individuals will be victimised," a CWU spokesman said.

"Crucially, in this instance, this has to involve the withdrawal of letters sent by the company threatening our members with the repossession of their homes.

"Finally we are asking for an unequivocal commitment that the appointed independent body overseeing the employee and industrial relations review will have the power to address our members' concerns without interference from Royal Mail."

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 requires staff to agree to a 12-month ban on industrial action.

ROYAL MAIL'S ADVICE
No mail in north, south and west Belfast - deliveries in east of the city unaffected
No more special delivery items accepted across NI
No mail posted in Belfast being processed
Items posted in NI for delivery to Britain and internationally not being dispatched
Most incoming British and international mail should be delivered
People expecting urgent mail should contact that organisation and explore alternatives such as telephone or email

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

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 said customers needing more information and advice could contact its helpline number on 08457 740740.

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