Mail strike 'self-defeating' says Brown The prime minister has called on Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) to "get round the table" to bring an end to industrial action.
"This strike will be self-defeating if all it means is that less people use the Royal Mail," Gordon Brown said.
He was speaking after the start of the first nationwide postal strike in two years, which began at 0400 BST.
Meanwhile, the BBC has learned that three strike days will be announced for next week. The CWU declined to comment.
The CWU has said it may make an announcement on further developments later, but had previously said that it would be announcing plans for further strike action.
The news came as about 42,000 mail centre staff and drivers staged a 24-hour strike.
Story So Far Postal workers, especially in London, have been holding intermittent one-day strikes for months in a row over the way Royal Mail is to be modernised Earlier this month, postal workers voted three to one in favour of nationwide industrial action (though Royal Mail said 60% of the total number of postal workers in the UK did not vote to strike) The CWU set dates for the first nationwide postal strikes in two years Last-gasp talks failed to reach an agreement and indeed the split between the union and Royal Mail management became more acrimonious
More and more people will find other ways of communicating until the Royal Mail ends up not being used because it is such a poor and unreliable service. Then, perhaps, the CWU members will scratch their heads and say "Where did we go wrong?" No doubt, there are faults on both sides but striking will only end in tears.
Historically, there are two parallels here.
Think back to the London dockers. The system by which they were employed was, to say the least, hit and miss which did not help. They went on strike over comparatively trivial matters to try to keep the London and Liverpool docks alive and suddenly found that the ships were docking in Ipswich, Avonmouth and Immingham. Admittedly, the advent of containerisation did not help the dockers either but the move away from the London Docks would have happened anyway as the ships got bigger and bigger.
The other parallel is the miners strike which went on for about a year and ended in tears with mines closing and thousands being put on the dole. Admittedly, again, some of the mines were uneconomical anyway and, at that time, imported coal was comparatively cheap but it still ended in tears.
It pays now and then to look back at history and try to learn from it but, alas, we rarely do.
On the news tonight they were saying that both sides wanted to go to arbitration. Then both sides blamed the other for pulling out. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the company just turn round and say this is what's happening whether you like it or not.