Post Office staff strike over pay and closure threat

The Post Office at Slindon Street in Portsmouth
The Post Office at Slindon Street in Portsmouth
A Ryanair plane. Picture: Wiki Commons (labelled for reuse)

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STAFF at the largest post offices in Waterlooville and Portsmouth walked out on strike over potential closures and pay.

Members of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) staged their fifth one-day walkout yesterday as the dispute between it and the Post Office continued.

Both post offices, in Slindon Street in Portsmouth and in Wellington Way in Waterlooville, remained open to the public yesterday.

They are two of 373 branches still run directly by the Post Office, and are known as Crown post offices.

Currently most post offices are franchised out.

Of those 373 post offices, 76 have been earmarked to be either closed or franchised as the Post Office completes a restructure.

Neither Waterlooville or Portsmouth are on the list.

However, Ruth Harris, branch secretary for the Portsmouth and district CWU, said: ‘They’re not in line for closure, but that’s not to say things won’t change in the future, or the possibility of franchising them won’t come up.

‘There’s still a threat, and then there’s still the pay issue as well.’

The strike came as a fortnight of discussions between the Post Office and the CWU broke down, despite the Post Office offering an extra £100 of pay to each of its employees.

The Post Office said it was ‘disappointed’ yesterday’s strike went ahead.

Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office said: ‘We want to end this dispute and we are disappointed at the CWU’s decision to take further strike action while talks are still ongoing.

‘We must continue with our plans to turn around the Crown network and ensure we keep these branches on high streets in city centres across the UK.

‘We remain open to discussions with the CWU on pay options which do not add to the current loss of public money.’

Branches were due to be open as usual from this morning.