LONDON (Reuters) - Talks between the postal union and Royal Mail management have stalled and a fresh wave of strikes will go ahead this week, the union said on Wednesday.
A three-day strike will start from Thursday after talks between the executive of the Communication Workers Union and Royal Mail failed to find a solution to a dispute that has already created a huge backlog of letters and parcels.
The strikes, following a 48-hour stoppage last week, will further hinder business and cause potential embarrassment for Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose Labour Party has received about 5 million pounds in political contributions from the union since 2001.
The union said it had put forward a proposal that would have allowed a period of calm while further talks were held aimed at reaching agreement on pay, jobs and modernisation plans.
“At this point of time, we have not had confirmation as to whether our proposal is acceptable and therefore the strikes previously announced for the next few days will take place,” Dave Ward, CWU general secretary, said in a statement.
Royal Mail condemned what it said was the CWU’s decision to “walk away” from talks that were making “significant progress.”
The long-running dispute is part of a potential winter of discontent as government and businesses tighten their belts following the sharp economic downturn.
British Airways cabin crew plan to vote on whether to take industrial action.
The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said at the weekend that the long-running postal dispute had cost London firms more than 500 million pounds since the start of the summer and would delay the capital’s economic recovery.
Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Michael Roddy