Intervene to end postal strike fears, PPA urges Hewitt

The Periodical Publishers Association has urged the Government to intervene in the current postal workers’ dispute because it is concerned about the impact a strike will have on magazine groups.

The PPA raised its concerns about the effects on businesses in a letter to Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt. It has also called on the Government to ensure that “every possible avenue of discussion and arbitration is exhausted before any disruption is contemplated”.

Pay talks between the Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union collapsed last week. Royal Mail bosses have urged workers to accept a pay rise of 14.5 per cent but union officials were angry at the number of conditions attached to the offer and said that only a 4.5 per cent raise was guaranteed.

The PPA also highlighted the “devastating” effect a prolonged strike would have on print-based businesses, given that the Royal Mail has the monopoly on mail distribution, and generates around £350m of revenue from magazine publishers.

A letter has also been sent by the PPA to Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton and CWU general secretary Billy Hayes.

The PPA is in the process of drawing up a list of alternative distribution methods which could be of use to publishers in the event of a strike.

By Ruth Addicott

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