Thousands of Post Office staff to stage walk-out over jobs, pensions and branch closure dispute

Post Office. Pic: PA.

Post Office. Pic: PA.

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Thousands of Post Office workers are to stage a fresh strike in a dispute over jobs, pensions and branch closures.

Members of the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) will walk out on October 31, with more action in the run-up to Christmas not ruled out.

It will be the second strike in the row over job losses, the closure of the final salary pension scheme, and the closure of Crown post offices.

Three meetings have taken place at the conciliation service Acas but the union says that no meaningful progress was made.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: "The stakes have never been higher for the future of the Post Office, its workers and the communities they serve.

"The Post Office is at crisis point and the management and Government need to listen to the workforce.

"Staff and the public are seeing little more than a glorified closure programme from the Post Office and it cannot survive by simply cutting costs.

"We are calling for the Government as the owner of the Post Office to step in, halt the cuts and work with us to develop a proper strategy that will secure the future of the service."

Kevin Gilliland, Post Office's network and sales director, said: "We are disappointed that CWU is again talking about strikes when we continue to try to reach a constructive way forward through talks at Acas.

"The Post Office has repeatedly invited the unions to discuss strategy and present its view of the future of the business to our group executive and board.

"We can reassure our customers that, if strikes go ahead, the vast majority of people working at Post Office branches would not be involved and almost all of our network will be open for business and operating normally.

"Well over 11,000 of our branches are run by independent businesses. The 50,000 people who work in these branches will be providing Post Office services as usual if a furtherstrike goes ahead.

"In addition, our contingency plans will ensure some directly managed branches will remain open and that there is sufficient cash and stock for our whole network."