LONDON, Oct 8 (KUNA) — Postal workers in the UK have started a second 48-hour strike over pay, pensions and job cuts in a repeat of last week’s stoppages which crippled services, their union, the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) announced Monday.
It comes as reports said that the strikes could cost Royal Mail (management) far more than had been expected.
The industrial action could end up costing as much as 260 million pounds, according to sources quoted in the British media.
The report blames longer term damage as customers switch to other forms of communication because of the strikes.
It said that by the end of the second 48-hour strike, which began early this morning, the cost to Royal Mail will have been between 50-60 million pounds.
But over time, a senior executive estimates that people shunning postal services in favor of electronic forms of communication, so that they will not be affected by future strikes, could cost an extra 200 million pounds.
About 130,000 members of the CWU are at loggerheads with Royal Mail.
The union has rejected a pay offer of 2.5 percent and is worried about modernization plans, which it believes will threaten about 40,000 jobs.
Talks between the union and management continued over last weekend but could not reach agreement.
Royal Mail said that about 35,000 of the 110,000 staff due to work last Friday had come in despite the strike.
It added that they had handled about 45 percent of mail in the system, although there had been less than usual because the strike had been well publicized.