Workers go on strike at biggest post office branches

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Workers in hundreds of the country’s biggest post offices will stage a fresh strike today in a long-running row over jobs, pay and closures.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) at the so-called Crown offices will be taking industrial action for the third time in recent weeks. The union is opposed to plans to close or franchise 76 of the Crown offices – the larger branches usually sited on high streets – warning that 800 jobs would be affected.

Campaigns have also been launched in areas affected by the proposals, with warnings that high streets struggling to cope with the economic downturn will be hit further if the main post office closes or moves into a supermarket or other local store.

The union is also in dispute over pay, saying its members in Crown offices have not received a rise for two years.

CWU national officer Andy Furey said: “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 £6m – effectively doubling the cost of what we’ve asked. Despite admitting this they still stubbornly refuse to negotiate.”

Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office, said: “The CWU is failing to accept the need to address the current loss of £40m a year of public money across our Crown network.”