On Monday in the UK, postal workers again went on a 48 hour strike after intensive talks over the weekend failed to reach an agreement on issues of pay, pensions and job cuts.

It is the second such strike, coming after a similar 48 hour strike that was held at the end of last week.

At 3am Monday morning 130,000 postal workers walked off their jobs and are not expected to return until the end of Wednesday. The Royal Mail service said that customers should expect severe disruptions to postal services during the strike and for some time after.

According to media reports, the industrial action is estimated to cost Royal Mail around £50 million while the strikes are in effect. In figures released by the Sunday Telegraph, the strike could cost Royal Mail as much as £250 million in total, with the extra £200 million being the cost of people choosing to use alternatives to post in fear of more postal strikes.

In addition to this, business groups have warned that the postal strike will cause immense disruption to the economy.

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) leading the strike are at odds with Royal Mail over its modernisation plan which they believe will threaten 40,000 jobs. In addition to this, the CWU is unhappy with the 2.5% pay offer which is seen to be below inflation.

The Union organized a rally to take place in Trafalgar square on Monday in addition to the strike action, they also called upon the Government to intervene in the dispute. The Government however made it clear that they expected the CWU and Royal Mail to reach an agreement themselves.

On the other side of the argument Royal Mail believes its modernisation plan is the only way to survive in what has become a competitive industry since the company lost its monopoly rights last year.

A spokesman for Royal mail indicated that little could be gained by strike action saying: "Further strike action will do nothing to change the harsh competitive realities we face."

More strikes are scheduled for 15th October if no agreement is reached.