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Sorted and the City: Strike looms; D-Day as An Post union meets to confirm action.

Byline: Andrew Penman & Michael Greenwood

THE prospect of a national postal strike is looming large.

The largest union in An Post - the Communications Workers Union - is meeting today to make a decision on whether to hold an all-out strike.

Members have already voted by a six-to-one majority in favour of industrial action at the state-owned company.

The union executive committee is meeting to decide how and when the industrial action will be implemented.

It does not need to go back to its members as the previous ballot has already provided a mandate for immediate strike action.

The union official with responsibility for An Post, Sean McDonagh, says he is not optimistic that a strike can be avoided. Officially, the industrial action centres on union claims that the company has failed to implement a number of pay and reward deals.

The union is also accusing the Government of failing to implement an agreement for the establishment of an employee share ownership plan for An Post staff, similar to schemes offered at other state and former state companies.

The decision by the leadership of Ireland's largest trade union to cancel a nationwide bus and rail strike could be challenged in the courts, it emerged today.

SIPTU union officials ordered the cancellation of the 24-hour-stoppage against the wishes of their strike committee after lengthy discussions yesterday.

Bill McCamley, a member of the strike committee, said legal action could now be taken in an attempt to reverse the decision.

"It is regrettable that the leadership of SIPTU and the NBRU have walked away from their members," he said.

CAPTION(S):

IN THE BAG: The Communications Workers Union has already balloted its members, and is deciding what form action will take; SORT IT: unless negotiations on pay and reward deals get back on track, strike action will cause a backlog in mail delivery
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 19, 2004
Words:308
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