Job cuts deal halts strike by postal workers in London
Strike action by postal workers in London has been averted after a union reached a deal with the Royal Mail in a dispute over job cuts.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) voted for industrial action on 24 May after Royal Mail announced plans to close mail centres in the capital.
On Thursday, the CWU said it had received guarantees of no compulsory redundancies while proposed changes were rolled out.
It follows two weeks of talks.
Workers who were balloted were based at Mount Pleasant, Nine Elms at Vauxhall, East London Mail Centre at Bow and Rathbone Place in central London.
They voted to strike by four-to-one in a turnout of 54% after fears centre closures would mean compulsory redundancies.
The union said up to 3,500 Royal Mail staff would strike unless reassurances were given over job security.
Royal Mail said the decision to close east and south London mail centres was made after a nine-month consultation with the trade unions.
Dave Ward, the union's deputy general secretary, described the two-week negotiations as difficult but said staff in London now had "real choice over their futures".
"It will mean two out of the seven mail centres within Greater London closing in the summer of 2012, but crucially this will now be done in a way that puts people first," said Mr Ward.
"It's an important approach that will bring necessary operational change which looks after staff and customers as well as the company."
Royal Mail's regional operations director for London, Gerry O'Rourke, said: "We welcome this development.
"We had already made substantial progress on the essential changes to our mail processing operations in London.
"The union's support for our plans means that both Royal Mail and the CWU can concentrate on working closely with everyone affected to ensure that colleagues get the very best support and advice through what we know is a difficult and sensitive period."
As a result of the changes 580 people are likely to leave on redundancy terms. More than 670 full-time staff have expressed an interest in taking voluntary redundancy packages.