Post office staff go on strike to protest against job cuts, pay and closures

 

Thousands of staff in the country's biggest post offices staged an Easter Saturday strike today in a row over jobs, pay and closures.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) in around 370 so-called Crown offices will mount picket lines as part of industrial action in protest at plans to close or franchise 70 branches.

The union said hundreds of jobs will be affected by the proposals, which it warned would cause further problems for high streets already suffering from shop closures.

The CWU added that staff had not received a pay rise for two years.

The Post Office said Crown branches were losing £40 million a year and accused the union of ignoring the "harsh realities" the company faces.

Dave Ward, the CWU's deputy general secretary, said: "Our post office members are standing up against destructive plans which would slash 20 per cent of the Crown network and are simply asking for fair treatment and job security.

"The Post Office's plans are short-sighted and would rob the network of the most productive offices while simultaneously putting hundreds of jobs at risk and potentially damaging local economies. We'd like to see a better vision for a successful network which maintains services in the heart of communities alongside quality jobs.

"We're confident this could be achieved if Post Office management would agree to negotiations."

Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office, said: "We regret any disruption to services the CWU's call for strike action may cause to customers. Crown branches are currently losing £40 million per year and this is being subsidised by public money. This cannot continue.

"The Post Office is transforming its network to improve customer experience and in turn bring in new business. We are committed to the Post Office remaining a key part of UK high streets and our plans ensure this will happen.

"They mean that for 70 of our Crown branches - less than 1% of our network - we will be looking to partner with a suitable retailer, whilst at the same time we will invest £70 million in the remaining 300 Crown branches to modernise and grow services to ensure their long-term viability.

"Our pay offer remains unchanged. We want to make the first payment of up to £1,400 as quickly as possible. The unrealistic demands and call for strike action being made by the CWU will only delay how quickly this will be received into our people's pay packets."

The union pointed out that Crown offices handle 20 per cent of all Post Office business.

Assistant secretary Andy Furey said a meeting at the conciliation service Acas failed to break the deadlock, adding: "Our members are steadfast in their conviction that the Crown network is valuable for local communities."

The union said it was receiving strong public support for its campaign, with petitions circulating in areas affected by the proposals.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms