28/06/2007

Postal strike to affect Northern Ireland

Postal services across Northern Ireland are to be disrupted tomorrow as Royal Mail staff strike for the first time in more than ten years.

Around 130,000 members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will walk out for 24 hours on Friday following disputes over pay and plans to restructure the business.

Customers however will still be able to use over 530 Post Office branches across the Province, but the sorting and delivery of mail will be disrupted.

The CWU has rejected a 2.5% pay offer and has also warned the modernisation plans could lead to the loss of 40,000.

The Social Security Agency has issued customers advice in light of the forthcoming strike. It says the vast majority of Agency customers are paid their benefits by direct payment to a bank account or Post Office Card Account. These customers will be unaffected by the dispute and will continue to receive their benefits as normal.

They have also said every effort is being made to ensure customers who receive cheque payments through the post will get them on time, however, some customers may experience a delay in receiving their payments. Anyone who does not receive their payment on the expected date and who requires urgent assistance should contact their benefit paying office immediately for help in cases of hardship.

Royal Mail has further advised customers to avoid posting letters tomorrow. It also warned special delivery packages would also be affected.

(JM)

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