Somerset

Bridgwater postmen and women told to stop using bikes

Postmen and women in a Somerset town are being told their bicycles are going to be replaced by trolleys and vans.

Royal Mail said the change for some of their staff in Bridgwater would help to save their backs and reduce accidents.

Dave Chapple, of the Communication Workers Union, said: "The union accepts vans are more suitable in some areas - we don't think Bridgwater is suitable."

The proposed change is part of Royal Mail's £2bn national modernisation scheme.

Mr Chapple added: "Postmen and women have been using bikes for 100 years and by and large we're happy with them. We're going to fight to retain as many bikes in Bridgwater as we can.

"For most bike rounds, the mail is carried on the front pannier and so most of the time the mail isn't on your shoulder - so we don't accept the whole shoulder argument.

'More parcels'

"Then there's the whole environmental argument about vans and congestion in towns."

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: "It is certainly not a straightforward switch to vans for those postmen and women who currently use bicycles.

"The changes will also result in a number of other benefits - as we deliver fewer letters but more packets and parcels than we did in the past.

"The switch to vans and trolleys will enable us to take the weight off staff's backs and we can reduce cycling accidents involving our staff.

"We can eliminate the need to send out older, more polluting vans to replenish postmen and women by sending out all the mail, including parcels and special delivery, in one go."

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