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The UK Post Office, Royal Mail, is said to have already started to employ temporary employees in order to prepare for the national strikes expected to go ahead on Thursday and Friday this week, the Bristol Evening Post reports.
Royal Mail has refused to confirm how many temporary staff are being hired in Bristol, where they would work and what they would be doing. However, unions say that hundreds, recruited via staffing services group Manpower, have already begun work at a large temporary sorting warehouse set up near the South West distribution centre at Severn Beach.
Manpower has also declined to comment but the Evening Post believes the total of temporary employees for the region will be 1,000 which is 500 more than normally hired in the run up to Christmas.
Dave Wilshire, Secretary of the Bristol branch of the CWU union said, "employment law says that agency staff should not be recruited to do the work of permanent staff who are on strike. We believe Royal Mail is clearly doing this at the site near the South West distribution centre."
"We feel that Royal Mail is just planning for even bigger failures of the Mail rather than directing their energies to resolving the dispute. Their efforts would be better directed to trying to reach an agreement so the people who are experts at doing the job and do it all year around can get back to work and start delivering people's mail in time for Christmas."
Talks between Royal Mail and the CWU are due to continue today but the two 24 hours strikes planned for tomorrow and Friday are expected to go ahead.