Royal Mail To Talk Over Union Demands

    Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier hopes common sense would prevail when management and union representatives meet on Monday for talks aimed at ending a dispute that has paralysed Britain's postal service.

     The strikes, part of a dispute over pay and jobs and the pace of modernisation at the state-owned company, are a potential embarrassment for Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Labour Party, which receives a large chunk of its funding from the trade union movement.

  The talks between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are due be held through the Trades Union Congress, which assisted the 2007 pay and modernisation agreement.

    Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, warned the talks could be difficult and added that progress could be reached only if Royal Mail seeks agreement.

    About 42,000 mail centre staff and drivers walked out last Thursday, followed by 78,000 delivery and collection staff on Friday. Before the backlog will have been cleared, a fresh wave of strikes is due to begin on Oct. 29.

   Royal Mail, whose business has declined by some 10 % annually in recent years, says modernisation is essential if the state-owned company is to fight off competition from more specialised delivery services and the Internet.

Reuters  has contributed to the report.

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