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Byline: By CLINTON MANNING, Business Editor

POSTIES should get an pounds 80 a week wage rise, say their union leaders.

But the pay claim for 160,000 workers could put them on a collision course with Royal Mail's management which is aiming to slash pounds 370million off costs by April.

The Communication Workers Union fears the cuts could trigger 40,000 job losses as bosses look to use more high-tech equipment, particularly in sorting offices.

Union boss Dave Ward says a 25 per cent rise is needed to bring posties' average wages of pounds 311 a week in line with the national average of pounds 391.

He added: "There's nothing average about postal workers. They're up at the crack of dawn, pounding the streets in all weathers until the last letter is delivered. Unfortunately, there's nothing average about postal workers' pay either."

A proposed four-year price regime, involving first-class stamps rising from 30p to 36p, would raise only half the pounds 2billion that Royal Mail says needs to be invested to modernise the business.

A spokesman said: "Royal Mail wants its people to have much better basic pay. But that has to be funded by big improvements in productivity and by restructuring the current complex pay package."

The organisation faces competition for its lucrative contracts such as business mail. And its pension fund is struggling with a pounds 4.5billion deficit.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 31, 2006
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