Bridport postal workers joined thousands at a demonstration in London to voice their frustration over 'diabolical' new pay and conditions.

Three coaches carrying 150 employees from the county made their way to Parliament Square during what has been described as the biggest Royal Mail strike since 1971.

Postal workers are represented by the Communications Workers Union (CWU), which is at loggerheads with the Royal Mail over improved pay for employees and the future of the business.

The union says that its members have had a two per cent pay increase 'imposed on them', which it says is 'an insult' due to rising costs and inflation.

It also accuses the Royal Mail of sharing much of its profits with private shareholders.

Another key dispute is whether postal workers will carry on delivering letters, which are said to be 'declining'.

The Royal Mail says that it has offered workers an 'enhanced' pay deal of nine per cent.

Branch secretary for the CWU Bournemouth and Dorset branch, Andy Rook, said the action was the largest he had experienced after 40 years in the postal sector.

He added that the nine per cent offer has 'many strings' attached to it which make it 'diabolical' with employees. 

"Normally I am lucky if I get a single coach of 50 people to go to any demonstration, but this was the largest outpouring of feeling I have ever seen," Andy said of Friday's demo. 

"We had people from every single office in the BH and DT postcodes, from Wareham, Bridport, Sherborne, Blandford. I had to turn people away in the end.

"It was very jovial in London - people are obviously very upset but they were just appreciative of the opportunity to go. It was a sea of postal workers."

Other union chiefs, including the RMT's Mick Lynch, gave speeches at the rally, with many targeting their anger at new Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson.

"If we don't stand up there won't be a postal service like we have got now," Andy said. 

"All they [Royal Mail] are interested in is turning us into a parcel company. 

"Once you separate parcels from letters, letters will wither on the vine and be handed back to Government.

"Our members love their job and are proud to deliver letters."

Andy, who is a postal worker himself, added that new terms and conditions would also change employees' working hours.

"They want to destroy the postal service - 500 years of history will be destroyed if we don't stop them," he said.

Postal workers are one of many sectors on strike this festive season, with further disruption expected in the run-up to Christmas. 

A spokesperson for the Royal Mail said: "Following several months of talks between Royal Mail and CWU, Royal Mail has shared a best and final offer for pay and change.

"The revised offer includes extensive improvements that have been made during the negotiations with the CWU, including an enhanced pay deal of nine per cent over 18 months and a number of other concessions to terms and agreements.

"The offer is subject to agreeing a programme of change with the CWU.

"We’re urging CWU leadership to accept the change and pay offer and call off future damaging strike action for the good of our customers and our people.

"We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU's continued strike action will cause.

"We are doing all we can to minimise delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected."