Postal workers walk out after talks with bosses break down

A WILDCAT strike by postal workers today was set to bring disruption to mail services in the Lothians, with thousands of letters expected to go undelivered.

Delivery drivers taking mail to Royal Mail offices in South Gyle, Portobello and Livingston refused to cross a picket line after staff at the Edinburgh Mail Centre in Sighthill called an unofficial strike.

With letters unable to be collected from the sorting office, services in the west and east of the Capital, as well as West Lothian, were set to be affected.

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Staff at the mail centre are understood to have taken the wildcat action following a breakdown in discussions with managers last night.

Royal Mail bosses said around 150 processing staff and drivers at the facility were on strike.

One postal worker at the centre said: "We walked out on strike and the delivery drivers are refusing to cross the picket line.

"The strike was called last night after our workers refused to accept management proposals. That continued today when the new shift came in.

"There was only maybe 1,000 pieces of mis-sorted mail to be collected. The managers could've collected it themselves but they were trying to force the drivers to cross the picket line and they wouldn't do it."

"It's ridiculous that we are being put in this position by managers."

Around 50 members of staff at the city's south-east delivery office walked out on Friday after a delivery driver was asked to cross the picket line of an official strike at the Sighthill sorting office.

When the driver refused, he was sent home without pay, leading his colleagues to walk out in protest at his treatment.

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Employees at Sighthill had been observing a 24-period of official industrial action as part of a nationwide campaign aimed at resisting Royal Mail's modernisation proposals.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said they were "no concrete reasons" why the wildcat strike had been called.

She added: "All this action is doing is hurting the company further during a recession and making our customers leaves us.

"The delivery drivers and postal workers are not on strike at the other offices.

"They are refusing to cross a picket line so they still have to work. If they refuse, they will be sent home without pay."

Graham Steedman, area processing representative for the Communication Workers Union, said: "

It's unfortunate that the actions of management has brought this about."