Thousands of Post Office members of the Communication Workers Union will strike next Thursday (September 15), against attacks on their job security and pensions and in defence of the Crown network and Supply Chain.
Communication Workers Union (CWU) General secretary, Dave Ward, said: “The Post Office is relentlessly pursuing a programme of cuts that will mean a further 2,000 job losses, staff being left tens of thousands of pounds worse off in retirement and the privatisation of its flagship branches. The Post Office is at crisis point and the government has to step in.
“We are making a simple demand. The Government needs to pause the cuts, convene a summit of key stakeholders in the industry and work out a strategy that gives employees and the public confidence that the Post Office has a future.
“The Post Office has pointed to the ‘bottom line’ in making these cuts. But it cannot pretend that using public money to pay off staff so they can be replaced with minimum wage jobs is a success story or that closing down its flagship branches is a defence of the service.
“The Post Office has got to get out of the cycle of closures, job losses and attacks on staff terms and conditions. It needs a serious plan to grow revenues in areas like financial services. Other countries have brought in hugely successful Post Banks – there is no reason why our Post Office should be the world leader in managed decline.”
Deputy General Secretary (Postal), Terry Pullinger, said: “Today (Thursday, September 8), we are announcing the first day of industrial action and if the Post Office is not prepared to change its position it faces an ongoing dispute with our members.
“This is a major campaign to defend the very future of the Post Office and force Government, as the owner, to live up to its responsibility and past promises and sit down with all stakeholders to agree a positive vision for the future rather than one that celebrates structural decline.
“The Post Office is offering staff thousands of pounds not to go on strike and is threatening to make CWU reps redundant. It is incredible that a publicly owned company is behaving this way and the government has got to make clear that this is completely unacceptable.
“The proposals from the Post Office to close its pension scheme have no justification. With a surplus of over £130 million the Post Office has the best funded pension scheme in the country. In closing it down the Post Office is stealing the money our members have built up over many years of service and backtracking on its promises to keep the scheme open.
Kevin Gilliland, Post Office Network and Sales Director, said: “All of our proposals are taken forward with the utmost care for the people they affect and we’re proud of our track record in supporting people through difficult changes.
“We’ve done what we can following consultation and having taken further advice from our Actuary, to make changes to what we are proposing to try to lessen the impact on individuals.
“We are clear that our recommendation is the responsible thing to do both for members of the plan, and for the long term financial health of the business. It is currently being considered by the Trustee.”