Mail delivery and collection in the isles are set to be hit later this week when postal workers in Shetland are expected to be among tens of thousands joining in a nationwide strike.
On Thursday, many of the 42,000 mail centre staff and network drivers will be taking to the picket line to protest at proposals from Royal Mail to modernise the way mail is handled and delivered.
Twenty-four hours later delivery and collection staff, amounting to around 78,000 postal workers in total, are expected to strike unless an unlikely breakthrough in negotiations can be found before then.
A source said it was anticipated that quite a few workers at the Lerwick post office would be taking part in the strike action, though not as many rural workers are expected to walk out.
Members of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) backed a walkout by a margin of 3-1 last week in protest over what the union says is the “imposition” of changes to working practices as well as pay cuts and job losses.
The CWU is also angry at Royal Mail’s announcement on over the weekend taht it plans to bring in 30,000 temporary workers in the lead up to Christmas, more than in previous years.
But Royal Mail said it had held around 80 meetings with the CWU this year and that talks were continuing to try to avert the “totally unjustified” strikes.
It will be the second time in just over two years that postal workers in Shetland have taken industrial action. In July 2007 they walked out as part of a nationwide strike after receiving a below inflation pay offer.