Royal Mail strikes called off

By Alex Stevenson

Union leaders have agreed to call off strikes scheduled for tomorrow and Monday, it has been reported.

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) has agreed to cancel the strikes in a bid to provide a ‘breathing space’ for further negotiations with Royal Mail to take place.

Talks brokered by the Trades Union Congress failed to stop last week’s three-day strike, but general secretary Brendan Barber was able to announce this evening that agreement had at last been reached.

Mr Barber said the deal “provides for a period of calm free of industrial action” and means that Royal Mail services will be free of any disruption up to and including the Christmas period.

“The agreement reached today is, I think, a very important step forward,” he told journalists outside Congress House.

“But it is a long way from the end of the road. Over the next period an immense amount of hard work is going to be needed in Royal Mail and the CWU to hammer out the final agreement on the way forward in a company that is facing a period of dramatic change.”

The Tories gave a warm welcome to the move.

“I hope the time will be used to get on with the purposeful modernisation of this important service,” said shadow business secretary Ken Clarke.

“Industrial action is of no use to anybody including the postal workers.”

The strikes set for the coming days were to have been the most comprehensive walkout yet. All operational functions would have been affected, resulting in limited collection, processing, movement and delivery of mail in most parts of the country.