National postal strike set to be declared

CWU confident of support as result of strike ballot is announced

A national postal strike is expected to be declared today as the result of a ballot of Royal Mail workers is announced.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is confident that its members have voted in favour of industrial action over jobs, pay and services. In recent weeks a series of regional strikes have severely disrupted postal deliveries.

CWU officials claim that Royal Mail has cut pay and services and has failed to consult the union over changes to working practices.

Dave Ward, deputy general secretary of the CWU, said: "Modernisation is crucial to the future success of Royal Mail, but the implementation of change must be agreed and it must bring with it modern pay and conditions. Postal workers deserve to be rewarded for change. We want to see a new job security agreement which will help people through this time of change for the company."

In other developments, the online retailer Amazon is reported to have cancelled its contract with Royal Mail over fears of disruption to Christmas deliveries. The contract with Amazon for parcels over 500 grams is thought to be worth at least £25m.

The retailer will now use a rival service, Home Delivery Network (HDN), which also delivers for Tesco and Argos. Brian Gaunt, the chief executive of HDN, said: "We are seeing a number of our customers preparing to start marketing their deliveries as free of Royal Mail risk."

The loss of the contract is another setback for Royal Mail which has sought to develop links with online retailers to compensate for declining mail volumes. In 2007 the company lost a contract worth £8m a year to deliver second class post for Amazon.