Extra staff assist Portsmouth's Post Office branch as workers begin two-day strike
EXTRA staff at Portsmouth's central post office minimised chaos for customers in the run-up to Christmas as staff began a strike today.
It was business as usual at the branch in Slindon Street as the workers were brought in to man the tills due to four staff taking part in a nationwide five-day strike.
The action is centred around job losses, the closure of a final salary pension scheme and the franchising of the Crown Post Offices.
Branches in West Street, Fareham and Wellington Way, Waterlooville were affected by the strike.
Manager of the branch in Slindon Street Robert Shipp said: ‘I’m pleasantly surprised by the response from staff in this strike as we have only lost four members of staff today and tomorrow.
‘We were expecting it to be a little bit worse but we have prepared well and have brought in people from head office, HR and other departments to keep us going and it looks like we are set to be largely unaffected.’
Mr Shipp said that the Post Office has a system in place during the festive period where staff from other departments volunteer their time, particularly yesterday and today, in order to ease the burden on branches.
He added: ‘For us, it is very much business as usual.
‘I respect the decision from the staff to strike but for me, my priority is that we keep the branch open, especially during the festive periods.’
An estimated 300 branches were affected by the strike nationwide with less than 50 closed entirely.
The future of the Waterlooville branch has been left in doubt after it was announced in January that it could close and be replaced by smaller, franchised offices.
In addition to this, a consultation recently took place on moving Fareham’s branch into a WHSmith store next year.
This was met by stinging criticism from Fareham’s civic leaders and Fareham Labour Party have set up a petition to block the move.