Post Office staff to walk out on Saturday in row over pay and closures

STAFF at Hastings main post office will be on strike tomorrow (Saturday) in protest over pay and possible branch closures.

Workers at the Cambridge Road branch are picketing from 9am and the post office will be closed all day.

Employees in Hastings are joining thousands of Post Office staff across the UK in the one-day walk-out.

The industrial action only affects Crown branches, those owned directly by the Post Office, and will not affect sub post offices at all, which remain open for trade.

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) said the strike is in opposition to Post Office plans to close or franchise more than 70 Crown offices.

The union also wants to secure a fair pay increase for counter staff who have had no rise since April 2011. Thousands of people have already signed several petitions in protest over the feared closure of the Cambridge Road branch.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “With Post Office management refusing to negotiate, and with such a huge vote in favour of strike action, we have had no choice but to serve notice for strike action. The patience and loyalty of our Post Office members has been abused by Post Office management. This dispute is about protecting jobs and services as well as securing a fair pay increase for our members.”

Andy Furey, CWU assistant secretary, said: “Post Office management and their ill-conceived policies are out of touch with both its own staff and the communities it is meant to serve.”

Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office, said: “The CWU is ignoring the harsh commercial realities being faced by the Post Office and other retailers across the UK. Crown branches are currently losing £40 million per year and this is being subsidised by public money. This cannot continue.

“We are committed to the Post Office remaining a key part of UK high streets and our plans ensure this will happen. They mean that for 70 of our Crown branches we will be looking to partner with a suitable retailer, while at the same time we will invest £70 million in the remaining 300 Crown branches to modernise and grow services to ensure their long-term viability.”