POSTAL workers are to stage two national strikes next week in a row over pay, jobs and working conditions, which will halt mail deliveries.

Thousands of mail centre staff and drivers will walk out on Thursday, October 22 for 24 hours, followed by a 24-hou

POSTAL workers are to stage two national strikes next week in a row over pay, jobs and working conditions, which will halt mail deliveries.

Thousands of mail centre staff and drivers will walk out on Thursday, October 22 for 24 hours, followed by a 24-hour walk-out on Friday, October 23 by delivery and collection staff.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said it had "no choice" but to press ahead with a national strike after its peace offer was rejected by Royal Mail.

Adam Oakes eastern area delivery representative for CWU said: "The CWU is sorry to have to take this action and would like to reassure the public and businesses that it is doing everything it can to avoid industrial action and will continue to do so. The CWU have made a formal offer to Royal Mail to resolve the dispute, however Royal Mail has rejected this out of hand"

He added: "The CWU and its member's feel that the service is being ran down by Royal Mail to increase profit and bonuses for its senior managers who last year shared £10million between 13 current and former executives, at the expense of the service and the postmen and women on the street, who are concerned about the future of there jobs."

Mr Oakes said the Peterborough Mail Centre and delivery staff, including drivers would be taking action from 4am on Thursday, October 22 for 24 hours. He said this would mean no mail in the PE postcode area will be processed on that day.

The delivery offices in the rest of the PE postcode area (including the areas covering PE2, 7 and 8), will take action on Friday, October 23, resulting in no post on that day.

Royal Mail's managing director, Mark Higson, said the strike was an "appalling and unjustified attack on customers" and showed a "reckless disregard" for everyone who depends on the company.

Mr Higson said: "Customers large and small have been hoping the CWU would lift the strike threats and focus on providing the service they need and want - instead the union has given them a slap in the face."

He added: "The union seem to be in denial about the reality of the tough economic conditions facing everyone in the UK and the impact of competition, especially from email and the internet, which has helped drive mail volumes down by around 10 per cent this year. Every one per cent of lost business is costing Royal Mail some £70million of lost revenue a year so Royal Mail has to reduce its costs and focus more strongly than ever on delivering consistent, high quality service. I again urge the union to step back from the drastic action it is threatening next week and put the interests of customers first."

Mr Higson stressed that Royal Mail remained committed to fully honoring the 2007 Pay and Modernisation Agreement, which the CWU signed.