Union to ballot 3,500 Post Office members to “defend the future of great British institution”
The Communication Workers Union has served notice to the Post Office for a strike ballot of around 3,500 people working in Crown post offices, supply chain depots and admin sites across the UK. It’s the first time that all these units have been balloted together. The ballot opens on 1 August and the result will be announced on 19 August.
The ballot is in reaction to the company’s plans for wholesale privatisation of the crown network and widespread job losses – with 80 Crown post offices announced for closure already this year and up to 2,000 job losses planned across the business – in addition to the company’s decision to close the defined benefit pension scheme. The planned closures will reduce the crown post office network to around 230 offices.
Unresolved issues leading to the strike ballot include:
- Significant job losses across the whole business (now totalling 2,000 since the beginning of the year) – in Crown post offices, Supply Chain and Admin. This will lead to compulsory redundancies;
- The loss of 80 Crown post offices with four set for closure; 60 for privatisation (franchise) and a further 16 moving into another retailer under a ‘hosting’ arrangement;
- The closure of the defined benefit (DB) pension scheme which will leave thousands of staff worse off in retirement (proposed to be closed by March 2017 affecting 3,600 people);
- The closure of over half of the Post Office cash handling operation, whilst exiting the external market (announced April 2016).
Dave Ward, general secretary of the CWU, said: “The Post Office as we know it is on the brink of extinction. It is clear that the board’s plan is one of closure, redundancy and cost cutting on an epic scale which will permanently undermine this great British institution. We are repeating our call for the board to resign with immediate effect and be replaced with people who are actually interested in delivering jobs and services through this iconic brand.
“We will be highlighting our concerns for the Post Office with new business secretary Greg Clark, following up the delivery of our 20 foot postcard to his office last week. The government’s response on funding has been wanting and misleading – money has been spent on closing down offices and paying off staff instead of bringing new business into the network. The lack of imagination and ambition for this great British institution is staggering.
“We are left with no choice but to take strike action to defend the jobs and pensions of our members and the services they provide.”
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