A QUEUE snaked almost out the door at South Shields main post office yesterday as counter staff took part in their 12th strike this year.
Fifteen staff withdrew their labour at the Keppel Street branch.
The action is part of an ongoing protest by members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) in a bid to force a U-turn on plans to franchise 70 high street and city centre “crown” branches. Workers claim the plan would “rip the heart” out of the network.
Staff at the crown branch in South Shields are taking part in the action, although it is not one earmarked for transfer.
Managers were drafted in yesterday to keep the office open and offer a limited service to the public.
Nancy Callaghan, CWU representative for the North East, said: “The counter staff here in South Shields have years of experience and this action is about retaining that professionalism for the public.
“The public here in South Shields has been very supportive – they understand what we are trying to achieve.”
The Post Office says it has already received 150 expressions of interest from retailers keen to run post office services in their stores and the crown branches are expected to transfer to successful retailers before April 2015.
Six years ago, 85 crown outlets were closed in the Post Office’s last plan and 70 – including Newcastle city centre branch – were moved into WH Smith stores.