Post Office strike action looms in dispute over pay

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POST Office workers have voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay and job security.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action returning an 88 per cent yes vote in a national strike ballot.

The ballot closed yesterday in a dispute over pay and job security for 4,000 Crown Post Office staff working in the network of 373 high street offices with three-quarters of members taking part in the ballot.

Ruth Harris, branch secretary for the Portsmouth and district CWU, said: ‘I have been to meetings with members in the Portsmouth area. There is a strong sense of feeling. They have done what they said they would do and delivered a yes vote.

‘Hopefully this will get the business to come back to talk. We won’t know any more until we get reaction from them.’

But Ms Harris added that strike action is the last straw.

‘Let’s hope something will happen next week and there will be talks and that can be resolved,’ she said. ‘That’s the last possible option.’

CWU is awaiting a response from the Post Office to the request for talks on pay and job security for Crown staff.

The union has not issued notice for strike action. Seven days’ notice must be given for that.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: ‘Our Post Office members are fed up with being treated like second-class workers by the Post Office and they want concerns to be listened to.

‘There hasn’t been so much as the pretence of negotiations from Post Office Ltd and that must change if strike action is to be avoided.

The union said pay rises were promised in April last year but have not kicked in yet, but other staff employed by the Post Office ­in areas such as supply chain and administration ­have had pay rises and are set for more.

The Post Office said that it has offered cash payments to staff instead of across-the-board pay rises.

Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office, said: ‘We are disappointed. There is absolutely no room for manoeuvre. These payments are fair at a time when our Crown network is operating at a loss.’