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Posties walk out as talks fail

Royal Mail&rsquo;s national strikes will go ahead as planned today after union bosses accused the company&rsquo;s management and the government of undermining last-ditch negotiations.<br /><br />Dave Ward, the deputy general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), last night confirmed the strikes will go ahead, despite the talks over pay, jobs and modernisation having made some progress. He said he had received a letter which contradicted &ldquo;some of the issues we agreed&rdquo;, and blamed senior Royal Mail bosses and business secretary Lord Mandelson for deliberately undermining the talks.<br /><br />Some 42,000 mail centre staff and drivers are due to strike today, followed tomorrow by 78,000 delivery and collection staff, causing severe disruption for individuals and businesses across the UK.<br /><br />And further disruption is expected after CWU&rsquo;s Ward warned more walk-outs will be announced.<br /><br />The news came a few hours after Tory leader David Cameron accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown of failing in his obligation to intervene in the dispute, saying he lacked the &ldquo;courage and leadership&rdquo;.<br /><br />The government wants to sell up to 30 per cent of the state-owned firm to make it more competitive but set aside those plans earlier this year due to adverse market conditions and opposition from workers and Labour politicians.<br />