POST Office staff in the country’s network of 373 Crown Post Offices are taking a third round of strike action today in a dispute over closures, franchising, jobs and pay.
Management continue to refuse to negotiate, despite their financial arguments being proved wrong, says the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Strike action will start at 1pm and will affect up to 4,000 staff working in 373 Crown (main) post offices. Post Office staff voted by nine to one (88%) in favour of strike action and have already taken strike action on Easter Saturday and April 19.
The CWU is opposed to Post Office plans to close or franchise 76 Crown offices, 20% of the network, which would affect over 800 jobs.
The union is seeking protection for jobs and services, and wants to secure a fair pay rise for staff who have had no rise since April 2011. CWU believes the Post Office is trying to meet government targets by drastic cost-cutting.
Andy Furey, CWU national official, said at the weekend: ‘The Post Office has admitted that it’s got its sums wrong on the cost of our pay claim.
‘They embellished the figure by over £6 million, effectively doubling the cost of what we’ve asked. Despite admitting this, they still stubbornly refuse to negotiate.
‘The Post Office’s mistakes in relation to our pay claim call into question the accuracy of other Post Office numbers – including the alleged size of the losses in the Crown network.
‘This part of the network handles 20% of all Post Office business and delivers 40% of financial services sales, despite making up only 3% of the whole network. It really is the driver and heart of the network which is why we are so concerned about the closure and franchise plans.
‘We can help the Post Office find a positive way forward for the network, but they must be prepared to listen to the concerns of their staff who voted by nine to one to back strike action. Without negotiation this dispute will continue.’