TWO Edmonton sorting offices are at the forefront of a London-wide strike in response to cuts by Royal Mail.

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), which represents postal workers, said 159 notices of industrial action were served on Gillian Alford, the head of industrial relations at Royal Mail, at 5pm last night.

The CWU expects 16,000 postal workers from across London to strike in about a month's time.

Ballot papers are being sent out today to 159 depots across London, which include delivery offices, sorting offices and distribution hubs.

The strike will affect both sorting offices in Edmonton, which are at the “spearhead” of cutbacks, according to John Simkins, the CWU representative for London.

On March 30, postal workers in the Leeds Street sorting office went on strike over the introduction of 35-hour working week contracts for three new staff.

Mr Simkins said: “They are cutting full-time jobs and replacing them with part-time workers because it is cheaper.”

Royal Mail wrote to about 1,000 North London staff in February offering them voluntary redundancy and part-time contracts in a bid to save money.

Plans to privatise up to 49 per cent of the postal service are set to go ahead after an anti-privatisation amendment to a new Post Office bill was defeated in the House of Lords today.

The Government says the state-owned firm is under increasing competition from more efficient private delivery companies, while the company has a £6 billion pensions deficit.

The ballot papers will be returned in about two weeks when a strike date will then be set.

Mr Simkins said: “We know we will get a Yes vote. We are getting some really good feedback. We have just been told we are not going to get a pay rise this year and they have cancelled our bonus scheme, which is just a couple of hundred quid for a postal worker, though the senior management bonus scheme which averages £10,000 per bonus will stay.”

He also claimed the £6bn pensions deficit in the company's pension scheme was because the company had not made pension contributions for about ten years.

One of the Leeds Street postal workers, Mark Dolan, said senior managers were now sorting mail and postal workers were struggling to finish their rounds.

The CWU says up to 16,000 postal workers' jobs across the country are at risk.