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Post Office workers set to strike in long-running row over branch closures, jobs and pay


Thousands of workers in the country's biggest Post Offices will stage a fresh strike today in a long-running row over branch closures, jobs and pay.

Members of the Communication Workers Union at the Crown offices will launch their fifth day of industrial action after the failure of talks last week to try to resolve the dispute.

The union is opposed to plans to close or franchise 76 Crown offices, the larger branches usually based in High Streets, saying 800 jobs will be affected.

The two sides are also in dispute over pay.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “There's growing unrest within the Post Office and it's time that management responded to workers' concerns.

“There is massive public opposition to the closure and franchise plans and Post Office management have had to admit that their figures on our pay claim were wrong. They cannot continue to plough blindly ahead with deeply unpopular and unnecessary plans.

“We're really pleased that we managed to secure £100 for each of our members at last week's meeting, but the big issues of pay, closures, franchising and jobs remain unresolved. We have been given little choice than to press ahead with a further full day of strike action.

“The support for strike action has increased with every day we've taken and we're grateful for the fantastic support from customers, politicians and local communities. We're fighting to protect post office jobs and services which are clearly valued.

“We still believe a common way forward can be found, but it needs Post Office management to focus on a joint resolution, rather than sticking blindly to their flawed plans and throwing money at sending managers out to cover strike days.”

Picket lines will be mounted outside the Crown offices today, with up to 4,000 union members involved in the action.

Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office said: “We want to end this dispute, but we must also ensure that our high street branches do not fail in the future. With our people's help we have made real steps in reducing losses across the network. We are disappointed at the CWU's call for further strike action while talks are still on-going.

“Every hour of strike action is causing disruption for our customers and costing our people money. We remain open to discussions with the CWU on pay options which do not add to the current loss of public money.”

The Post Office said Crown offices would lose around £37 million in the past year, adding it was committed to continuing with its plans to “modernise and turn around” its loss making network of 370 Crown branches.

The plans include franchising 70 branches and closing some others.