Postal strike cripples deliveries

Postal workers have staged a strike over pay which crippled deliveries in London and led to a huge backlog of mail which will take five days to clear.

Only one in 20 postmen and women turned up for work, according to the Royal Mail, which apologised to its customers for the disruption.

About 25,000 members of the Communication Workers Union took part in the 24-hour stoppage, mounting picket lines across the capital which crippled collections and deliveries.

Union officials hinted that a further strike could be held on October 16, to coincide with industrial action by council workers in London in a separate dispute over pay.

Postal workers are seeking an increase in their London weighting allowances, but the Royal Mail says it has made a good offer which cannot be improved.

Chief executive Adam Crozier said: "We are sorry that our customers are having to pay the price for a strike which isn't necessary and from which no one will benefit."

Mr Crozier said strong picket lines in central London kept most postal workers off duty, but he said in outer London 10% per cent of postmen and women were working normally.

Thousands of managers were drafted in to deliver special delivery mail and to empty post boxes.

Most post offices remained open despite the strike, and Parcelforce services were not affected.

Mr Crozier said the Royal Mail had made a "great offer" to increase London weighting by £300 a year, which would put postal workers in the top third of any league table for the allowances.

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