Post Office Staff In Fresh Wave Of Strikes
Workers at Crown post offices are staging a fresh wave of strikes in a five-month row over jobs, pay and closures.
A UK-wide stoppage is being held today, staff in Scotland will strike on Monday, and union members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will stop work on Tuesday.
The Communication Workers Union said the dispute involves up to 4,000 staff and shows no sign of being resolved.
The industrial action is linked to plans to franchise or close more than 70 Crown sites - the larger branches usually found on high streets.
The 373 Crown offices, which are usually the larger ones, represent just 3% of the total post office network.
But the CWU says its staff deal with a fifth of all customers and handle 40% of financial transactions involving things like banking and credit cards.
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: "This is the first time we have announced two days of strikes at the same time and the first time we have announced back-to-back days of strike action.
"Coupled with the 90% yes vote by members for industrial action short of strike, the message can't be much stronger to Post Office management.
"Crown post office workers do not agree with management's slash-and-burn approach and are prepared to take prolonged industrial action to defend jobs and services and win a fair pay rise.
"This is a company which made £94m profit last year and paid out £15.4m in bonuses to senior managers.
"It's a clear case of double standards and trampling those at the bottom for the benefit of those at the top. Enough is enough. It's time to resolve this."
Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office, said he was "extremely disappointed" at the CWU's decision to call further strike action.
"This action can only cause disruption to customers, cost our people money and place further pressure on the Crown network which is currently losing £37m a year.
"We must continue with our plans to turn around the Crown network to ensure we keep these branches on high streets and in city centres across the UK.
"We remain open to discussions with the CWU on pay options which do not add to the current loss of public money."