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Post union boss under pressure

Billy Hayes, the general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, is this evening under pressure to call off the planned strikes in the run-up to Christmas. Aside from the fact that Royal Mail directors have made a passionate plea for the strike to be called off, it would appear that the union is also under pressure from members who are fearful for their long-term employment prospects. So what will happen next?

There is no doubt that the ongoing controversy regarding union and management friction has spilled over into the workplace and the strike has already seen a number of contracts come under threat. While there have been strikes in the past, the timing and length of the proposed action in the run-up to Christmas has caused more concern than ever before regarding the company's long-term future. Unless the unions and Royal Mail management can come to an agreement in the short term there is real concern about the overall finances of the Royal Mail.

While the Labour Party may not be willing to become involved, possibly because of union links, there is a feeling that the strike will have negative consequences for the government. Gordon Brown and Lord Mandelson are well aware of this and will be working behind the scenes to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

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