Post unions in rage over hiring plan

TRADE UNIONS warned employment agencies wanting to get involved in the Royal Mail dispute that they might face crippling fines, exacerbating already fraught tensions between the two sides.<br /><br />The GMB joined the Communication Workers Union (CWU) &ndash; which has called for national strikes over modernisation objectives &ndash; in slamming Mail plans to hire in 30,000 temporary staff while postal workers impose industrial action.<br /><br />&ldquo;Employment agencies need to realise they face a fine of &pound;5,000 per day, per worker they supply to Royal Mail during a lawful trade dispute.&rdquo; Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union said.<br /><br />&ldquo;The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate has very specific laws on that,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />Two national post strikes are due this week, as staff protest against jobs, pay and services at the embattled post group, adding to the turmoil which has been caused by regional strikes over recent weeks.<br /><br />Royal Mail has said that it intends to hire twice the number of extra Christmas staff it usually takes on to deal with seasonal parcels and letters &ndash; and insists the recruitment is in line with employment law.<br /><br />Unions say hiring people to do the work of striking staff is illegal, but the Royal Mail said yesterday temp workers would be used to clear backlogs between walkouts.