business to suffer as posties vote to walk out this friday

THOUSANDS of postal workers are set to strike on Friday, bringing chaos to businesses across London, as a row over jobs, pay and modernisation at Royal Mail intensifies.<br /><br />Over 12,000 members will stage a 24-hour walk-out on Friday, the Communication Workers&rsquo; Union (CWU) said yesterday, accusing Royal Mail of cutting wages and jobs without discussing it with unions, and of trimming services.<br /><br />Small business leaders in London said that the strike would hit cash-flow, which is already struggling in the downturn, while London&rsquo;s Chamber of Commerce (LCCI) hit out at the union.<br /><br />&ldquo;The disruption and delay caused by the postal strikes is the last thing businesses need in the middle of a recession,&rdquo; LCCI policy director Dr Helen Hill said.<br /><br />&ldquo;Wildcat strikes by postal workers cost London businesses an estimated &pound;304m in 2007,&rdquo; she added.<br /><br />The industrial action, which will take place in the capital, Bristol, Edinburgh and Plymouth, among other cities, is the latest in a series of walkouts among postal workers.<br /><br />Dave Ward, CWU&rsquo;s deputy general secretary, said yesterday there were &ldquo;serious and growing problems in the postal sector which urgently need resolving.&rdquo; He added that stress was at &ldquo;breaking point&rdquo; for workers.<br /><br />Both the union and Royal Mail are blaming each other for abandoning a pay and modernisation programme which had been agreed in 2007.