Post Office workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay, job security and the future of the Crown Post Office network, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) announced yesterday.
The ballot closed yesterday with 93 per cent voting yes making the result in favour of strike action more than nine to one, in a 66 per cent turnout.
The CWU is now encouraging Post Office Ltd ‘to return to talks and table a realistic pay offer for counter staff and discuss the future of the Crown network’.
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: ‘Post Office workers have sent a clear message to management in this ballot that they are not prepared to take double standards when it comes to pay.
‘However, this ballot is about more than pay; it is the job security of our members and the future of the Crown office network which is also at stake.
‘We want to see a strong network of Crown offices, but the government and the company appear to be hiding the fact that they are planning a programme of further Post Office closures.
‘Given the lack of support from the government – only yesterday taking a key benefits contract away from the Post Office – we fear for the future of the network.’
Andy Furey, CWU assistant secretary, said: ‘Our members have effectively registered a vote of no confidence in Paula Vennells, the Post Office Managing Director.
‘This massive YES vote demonstrates the strength of anger towards POL (Post Office Ltd) for attacking their pay, terms, conditions and job security.
‘Although we have a mandate to take strike action, we continue to be responsible and our doors are open for POL to talk to us about a fair offer for our members.’
The CWU statement added: ‘Fresh talks are due to commence and CWU will continue to press POL to negotiate a fair and decent pay and job security agreement over the coming days.
‘Failure to reach an agreement could result in CWU members taking strike action by the end of March.’
Ballot result: Yes votes: 2,365 (93 per cent); No votes: 172 (seven per cent); turnout: 66 per cent; spoilt ballot papers: five.
The CWU noted: ‘Post Office Ltd (POL) made increased profits of £72m last year, awarded a 2.25 per cent pay rise to managers and increased directors’ remuneration by 21 per cent (worth £3.9m in 2009-10).
‘However, POL has pleaded poverty and refused to consider a pay rise for counter staff.’