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Royal Mail's largest union to ballot members for strike

(Reuters) - Royal Mail <RMG.L> has received a notice from its largest union, stating its intention to ballot its members for a possible strike, the British company said on Wednesday, adding that it was open to talks with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

The notice follows Royal Mail's proposed 6% pay increase, part of a three-year deal with the CWU last week, in a bid to appease the union following threats of another strike ballot.

However, hopes for a settlement faded when CWU said last week that it could call for a strike as early as next month, citing broader issues at the former British postal monopoly.

CWU had said the ballot was definitely going ahead as Royal Mail seeks to adapt to an era in which fewer letters are sent and as focus shifts to parcels.

Royal Mail, which employs about 143,000 people in Britain, had earlier warned of a challenging year and losses in its British business because of labour tensions and shrinking letter volumes.

The earliest opening date for the ballot will be March 3 Royal Mail said, citing the notice.

CWU did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

Shares of Royal Mail were up 2.5% at 170.4 pence at 1130 GMT.

(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)