Post Office staff strike for half day in pay row

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Thousands of Post Office workers are to stage a fresh strike in a row over jobs, pay and closures.

Members of the Communication Workers Union will walk out for half a day from next Friday, following a strike last month.

The union is campaigning against plans to close or franchise 76 Crown offices – the larger branches usually based in high streets – saying that more than 800 jobs will be affected.

The CWU is also seeking a pay rise for staff, saying they had not received one since April 2011.

Members voted by almost nine to one in favour of strike action and went on strike for a day on Easter Saturday. The fresh action will start at 2.30pm next Friday.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “Post Office management’s behaviour is astonishing. They appear to have no regard for their Crown office staff who voted by nine to one to reject the company’s pay offer.

“Their flawed plans to close or franchise 76 offices are meeting robust opposition in communities across the country and our members remain determined to secure a fair deal on job security and pay.”

Andy Furey, CWU national official, added: “The Post Office is in disarray. We have really been left with no option other than to take further strike action. This management is determined to charge headlong into a damaging closure and franchise programme and is deaf to the reasonable options we have tried to put to them on pay and the future of the network.”

Kevin Gilliland, a Post Office director, said: “We want to keep branches on high streets across the UK. We are investing £70m in 300 Crown branches and are proposing to partner 70 branches with suitable retailers. These branches are not closing.

“The CWU is in denial of the need for us to modernise our Crown network. It is currently losing £40m a year of public money.”

The Post Office said it had offered a series of cash payments of up to £3,400 to be made before April 2015 which remained and was “extremely fair”.