Royal Mail workers union calls for 19 days of strikes

FILE PHOTO: Postal workers across Britain go on strike

LONDON (Reuters) - A trade union representing postal workers in the UK said on Tuesday that it has called for a further 19 days of strike against Royal Mail, the latest in an escalating standoff between the union and the postal service company.

The planned strikes would be spread across October and November, said the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents 115,000 postal workers at Royal Mail. The union had already set out plans for strikes from late September to early October.

The strikes come days after Royal Mail said it had informed the CWU that it wanted to "modernise the ways of working with them". On Tuesday, the company declined to elaborate on what changes they were specifically seeking, but said it was discussing it with the CWU.

"This is a significant announcement, but it is one which matches the level of anger our members feel at the way Royal Mail Group has treated them," CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said, referring to the strikes.

The union said the announcement follows the decision by Royal Mail Group management "to withdraw from major national agreements, push ahead with vicious cuts to workers terms and conditions and completely sideline the union."

It added the proposed strikes will have "a dramatic impact" as they cover peak periods such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the run up to Christmas.

In response, the company, which says it is losing 1 million pounds a day, called the announcement as the union choosing "the path of prolonging disruption over resolution".

"We value our union relationships and have no intention of derecognising any union in Royal Mail," the company said.

"Further strikes and resistance to transformation by CWU will only make our financial position worse, and threatens the long-term job security of our postmen and women," Royal Mail said in an e-mail.

The next strike action is scheduled for Wednesday Sept. 28, according the CWU website.

(Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis)