HUNDREDS of post office managers are set to go on strike on a peak day for Christmas mail and parcels as a dispute over jobs, pensions and branch closures continues.
The strike is due to begin on Saturday, December 3, and will involve more than 700 managers from Crown Post Offices across the UK.
Union bosses from Unite said the 24-hour walkout would disrupt overseas Christmas mail and parcels for thousands of customers.
They will be joining industrial action by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which is in dispute jobs, the closure of a final salary pension scheme and the franchising of Crown Post Offices.
Brian Scott, Unite’s officer for the Post Office, said: ‘We are taking this action because the management refuses to talk in a constructive manner about the pension scheme which is currently in surplus to more than £143m.
‘This is the retirement income of our members which is at stake and we are not going to stand idly by and let them lose thousands of pounds when they retire.’
‘More generally, it appears that it is only the unions that care about the future viability of the Post Office and the services it provides for communities across the UK.
‘The management seems to have abdicated its responsibility and, as the government ultimately owns the Post Office, we call, once again, for Business Minister Margot James to order an investigation into the Post Office’s future and what we consider is a catalogue of managerial incompetence.’
Crown Post Offices are the larger branches, usually located in High Streets of major towns and cities.
In April, the Post Office revealed plans to transfer up to 61 branches into WHSmith stores.
The company said the move was part of a 10-year plan to slash costs and save cash.
But the CWU said it faced up to 2,000 job losses as a result and it would lead to the closure of its pension scheme.
Mark Davies, Post Office spokesman, said: ‘We are extremely sorry that the unions are attempting to disrupt services for people sending parcels and cards to loved ones in the run-up to Christmas.
‘However, we would like to reassure our customers that, if a strike goes ahead on December 3, it will impact less than 300 of our 11,600 branches. It will be business as usual in 97 per cent of our network.’
This latest bout of strikes is the third in as many months.
The first 24-hour walk-out took place on September 15 and the second on October 31.