Welfare bonuses plan amid post threat strike

The Government has put contingency plans in place to pay 800,000 welfare recipients their Christmas bonuses in case a looming postal strike goes ahead.

The Government has put contingency plans in place to pay 800,000 welfare recipients their Christmas bonuses in case a looming postal strike goes ahead.

Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey is trying to persuade union leaders and An Post management to resolve their row ahead of planned industrial action on Friday.

Minister for Social Affairs Seamus Brennan today reassured people that they can access cheques worth €130m at the department’s network of offices across the country.

Special telephone helplines will also be set up early next month to inform rural customers of where they can pick up their money.

“We will be ensuring €130m going to 800,000 people can get through in the first two weeks of December, because it is genuinely a lifeline for so many people,” Mr Brennan said.

“I hope that the unions and management will work with Mr Dempsey and myself to ensure the money gets through.

“It is a financial lifeline for many of them so it is very important that it gets through.”

The Social Affairs Department is the largest single customer of An Post as one in 10 welfare recipients receives their weekly benefits and allowances by post.

Attempts to broker talks in the An Post dispute will resume today.

The Communications Workers’ Union has accused An Post of failing to pay workers and provide cost-of-living increases due to pensioners under the Sustaining Progress national agreement.

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