Residents turn on striking postal staff Times poll reveals

PUBLISHED: 17:19 28 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 16 August 2010

RESIDENTS are overwhelmingly against strikes being taken by postal workers, according to a Times poll. Our poll of 60 people in

RESIDENTS are overwhelmingly against strikes being taken by postal workers, according to a Times poll.

Our poll of 60 people in Bromley and Chislehurst found 48 against Royal Mail strike action and just five in support, with seven not registering an opinion.

Sympathy and patience is wearing thin over strikes held last Wednesday and Thursday, with more planned today, tomorrow and Saturday unless an agreement can be reached.

Many people in the poll were still waiting for important bills and letters as Royal Mail announced on Monday the backlog was down to 5 million letters.

The overriding view from people in the street was that the postal workers are lucky to have jobs given the worst economic downturn since the war.

Pensioner Roy Marsden, from Biggin Hill, described it as "industrial suicide" due to private postal companies queuing up for Royal Mail's shrinking business.

Postal workers, led by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), are striking over what it calls "change through bullying instead of agreement."

The CWU claims its members are having their work load increased to a point where they can't finish their shift on time.

Royal Mail and the CWU have disagreed over the Pay and Modernisation Agreement set out in 2007, relating to future working conditions, job numbers, efficiency and pay. They have accused each other of trying to scupper the negotiation process.

The Bromley Times learnt what impact the war of words is having while the bickering results in continued strikes.

Lisa Duggan, of Thurnbarn Road, Bellingham, complained that her daughter's wedding is in jeopardy because of lost or delayed mail.

She said: "We're panicking because my daughter's wedding is getting closer and there are so many forms currently stuck in the postal system."

Kay Smith runs education recruitment firm Supply and Demand, based in Bromley High Street.

Mrs Smith said: "We are waiting for cheques to come in so this strike is hitting our balances. There's a stack of invoices we need to get out but we know full well they will be delayed because of a huge backlog in the system. It's dreadful."

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said industrial action by postal workers has cost London firms more than £500 million since the start of the summer.

It calculated the two days of strikes last week alone cost the London economy an estimated £200 million.

Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the LCCI said: "This is a colossal amount of money for the London economy to lose and will delay the capital's economic recovery.

"Not being able to rely on a normal postal service forces companies to pay extra for couriers, delays consumer spending, damages client relationships and plays havoc with a firm's cash flow."

He said it was now "high time" that Business Secretary Lord Mandelson intervened to broker a deal between Royal Mail and the CWU and bring an immediate end to the strikes.

Despite Royal Mail being a government-owned company it has refused to intervene, saying it is an industrial relations issue, not a political issue.

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