Day-long Post Office strike planned

Slindon Street Post Office in Portsmouth
Slindon Street Post Office in Portsmouth
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A DAY of strike action at two key Post Offices is planned for Monday, the Communication Workers Union has said.

CWU members working in the country’s 372 Crown post offices, which includes those in Slindon Street, Portsmouth and Wellington Way, Waterlooville, will take a twelfth round of strike action next week.

The dispute is over closures, franchising, job losses and pay and has been ongoing since Easter.

The Post Office, which is a private company separate to Royal Mail, wants to close or franchise 75 Crown offices. Though neither Portsmouth nor Waterlooville are on the list, workers there will be joining Monday’s strike.

Staff will also be refusing to sell financial products and services as part of their industrial action.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: ‘If the Post Office thinks this dispute will simply fade away they are sadly mistaken. Our members are fiercely opposed to the company’s plans to close and franchise offices, slash jobs and impose a pay freeze.

‘We have tried talking to the Post Office about costs and efficiencies, but this is a company which made £94 million profit last year and paid significant bonuses totalling £15.4 million primarily to senior managers.

‘This can’t be paid for by cuts to front-line jobs and services, it’s simply not right.

‘Next week’s strike and the continuing sales ban activity will continue into the Christmas period unless management see sense and negotiate a fair deal for Crown office staff.’

It is understood the Post Offices in Portsmouth and Waterlooville will remain open.

Kevin Gilliland, from the Post Office said: ‘The CWU are calling for an above-inflation pay agreement when last year our overall performance was a loss of £116m; we must reverse this loss of public money.

‘Strike action can only cost our people money, cause disruption to customers and threaten our plans to turn the business around and keep our branches on high streets and in city centres across the UK.

‘They have refused their members a fair and affordable pay offer of cash payments totalling up to £3400 by April 2015, and are failing to recognise the financial realities faced by the Crown network.

‘The CWU’s call for its members to stop proactively introducing financial services to customers is extremely irresponsible. The proactive sale of our growing range of products and services is a vital part of transforming the network and meeting our objective of getting the Crown branches to break even by March 2015.

‘We would like to reassure customers that they will be able to continue to access all services from our branches.

‘This action will not affect over 97 per cent of the Post Office network and the majority of Crown branches have remained open during previous strike action.’