25/03/2004

Postal dispute talks breakdown after five hours

Talks last night between both sides in the ongoing postal dispute in Dublin broke down last night without agreement being reached.

Brokered by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) the talks lasted for around five hours, but following the meeting LRC Chief Executive Kieran Mulvey told RTE that there had been a failure to reach even a framework for discussion for a possible resolution.

The dispute has brought postal service in Dublin and the surrounding areas to an almost complete standstill.

Both sides blamed the other for the breakdown of the talks. An Post said that possible solutions tabled had proved unacceptable to the union. The CWU said the priority was to get its members back to work but this had not proven possible.

Over 500 workers have been suspended as the industrial action and postal service in the Dublin region have been severely disrupted.

The dispute, which centres on how mail is handled at the Dublin Mails Centre, has led to widespread disruption of postal services in the Dublin area and adjacent counties Louth, Meath, Monaghan and Wicklow.

Earlier this week An Post said that there would be some deliveries in Dublin and affected areas, but warned about posting mail in the capital.

Areas affected by the dispute include: Dublin City and County; Bray; Carrickmacross; Castleblaney; Drogheda; Dundalk; Greystones; Kells; Navan; Tuam; and Wicklow.

An Post said special arrangements have been put in place with the Department of Social and Family Affairs (DSFA) to ensure that people continue to receive their Social Welfare payments.

However, all inbound and outbound international mail (including Northern Ireland) has "ceased until further notice" as have all business mail collections in the affected areas.

(SP)

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