Union ratifies deal to end postal strikes

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LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) The postal workers' union said today its executive committee had ratified a deal to end the strikes that have brought chaos to the mail.

In a brief statement, the Communication Workers' Union said it had backed a national agreement made with Royal Mail last week and would now put the deal to its 130,000 members.

''The agreement settles all areas of the dispute and will be subject to an individual members ballot,'' the statement said.

Last week union bosses called off further planned strikes over pay, jobs and pensions, after discussions with Royal Mail.

Recent 48-hour stoppages have caused delays and disruption, particularly to firms dependent on mail order business, leaving 60 million items of mail undelivered.

Wildcat strikes have continued to take place in some parts of Britain.

Royal Mail said it was pleased it had reached an agreement with the union and apologised to customers for the disruption.

''All along we have been clear that to become competitive we needed flexibility to modernise and we needed to reform our pension scheme because the costs were crippling the company,'' said Chief Executive Adam Crozier.

''This deal, which is within the parameters we clearly set for pay this year, gives Royal Mail a fighting chance of success in the future.'' The deal means staff will receive an increase of 5.4 per cent on basic pay and weekday overtime from October 1, along with a 175-pound one-off payment.

It will also see the final salary pension scheme closed to new members from January 31 next year and replaced with a new system.

REUTERS AE HS2150

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