UNITED KINGDOM

Royal Mail to recruit 30,000 temps as strike looms

Trade unions have condemned Britain's Royal Mail for planning to recruit 30,000 temporary staff to cope with a looming postal strike and the Christmas holiday rush.

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AFP - Britain's Royal Mail said Sunday it will recruit up to 30,000 temporary staff to cope with a looming postal strike and the Christmas holiday rush, a move condemned by trade union leaders.

About 120,000 postal workers are to strike over 48 hours from Thursday after voting 3-1 to carry out national industrial action in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and management.

The last national strike by postal workers was in 2007.

Royal Mail said it was hiring twice the number of extra staff it usually takes on in the run-up to Christmas.

"Every year, Royal Mail recruits thousands of additional fully vetted, temporary staff as part of the operation which successfully delivers the Christmas mail," its chief executive Adam Crozier said.

"This year we'll have twice as many people on board, and we'll have them in place much earlier in the autumn.

"We are continuing to urge the union to halt its appalling and unjustified attack on customers."

Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) that is organising the strike, said it was a "stupid move".

"It's something that's not going help resolve the dispute. It's going to inflame things," he told BBC television, and repeated his call for outside mediation to resolve the row.

Paul Kenny, head of the GMB union, said Royal Mail's actions were "beyond belief", adding: "There are strict laws that forbid employers and employment agencies using agency staff to break a lawful dispute."
 

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