Crown Post Office workers stage strike
Post Office workers staged a 24-hour strike in a row over branch closures, job losses and planned changes to their pensions.
Members of the Unite and Communication Workers unions stopped work at so-called Crown Post Offices – branches still owned by the Post Office rather than franchised ones run by private businessmen and women.
Only a handful of the county’s post offices are such Crown Post Offices but most remained open after the organisation “worked to minimise disruption”.
They included the Preston Cash Depot, the Chorley, Morecambe, Lancaster, Kendal and Poulton-le-Fylde Crown Post offices.
Barry Bowes, from the CWU in the North West said they had workers out on the picket line across the region and had been given support by members of the public.
He said the unions had been pressing for months to go to arbitration group ACAS for talks and the Post Office had only now agreed.
He said the men had held off strike action until the last possible day legally in a bid to re-start talks, but now the company had finally agreed to go to ACAS no more strikes were planned.
He said the staff were angry at the way the national institution was being deliberately run down and by changes to the pension scheme which could cost members up to £5,500 a year in the future.
He said: “The pension scheme currently has a surplus of more than £135m.
“They want to close it and off load it to a private company. It could mean that it goes into deficit by the early 2020s.
“For a worker who is 50 now on basic pay and who retires at 60 it will cost them £5,500 per annum.
“This was a very last resort. He said they were in favour of modernisation but not the sustained “dismantling of this national institution.”
Kevin Gilliland, the Post Office’s network and sales director said: “We apologise to any customers who have been inconvenienced by the disruption to service in a very small number of branches.”
He said 99 per cent of the population had a post office within three miles and they were committed to retain that.