The mail dispute remained deadlocked last night as a fresh wave of strikes caused more disruption to the post — and there was a further threat of longer walkouts next month.
Thousands of members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) staged a 24-hour stoppage, manning picket lines outside mail centres across the UK in a bitter row over jobs, pay and modernisation.
Two further strikes will be held today and Saturday and the leader of the union has warned the action will escalate unless there is a breakthrough.
The CWU's postal executive held off naming new strike dates as efforts were made to resume talks which collapsed on Wednesday night.
CWU leader Billy Hayes said there was “every prospect” industrial action will now be stepped up, while the union is still considering whether to take legal action over Royal Mail's move to hire 30,000 agency workers to deal with the backlog of mail caused by the strike and the Christmas rush.
Mr Hayes told the Press Association: “We will be upping the dispute. We will not be scaling it down. There is every prospect that we will increase the action and we could be looking at longer strikes.”
The warning raises the threat of huge disruption to Christmas post unless the dispute is resolved soon.