Post Office strike: Support ‘solid’ says union

POST Office workers across Scotland went on strike yesterday in a dispute over jobs, pay and ­closures amid warnings of further action unless talks are held over the future of branches.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) took industrial action across Britain in protest at plans to close or franchise 70 branches of the so-called Crown post ­offices, which are larger and more comprehensive in their services.

Five of Scotland’s 25 Crown post offices are set to be franchised out, including Alloa, Cumbernauld, East Kilbride, Perth and Stornoway.

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The Post Office said over 100 branches were open despite the strike and accused the union of ignoring the “harsh commercial realities” it faced.

But the CWU said it had received “wonderful” backing for the 24-hour walkout from members and the public, and officials said they were prepared to call further industrial action unless the dispute is resolved.

Andy Furey, CWU nat­ional official, said: “Our members have sent a strong message to Post Office management by solidly supporting strike action against closures, job losses, and pay. It’s ironic that the Post Office has been trying to say 100 offices remained open today when, by their own plans, they want to lose 76 Crown offices.

“We hope the Post Office listens to the concerns of their staff. They can avoid further disruption by agreeing to negotiations to resolve this dispute.”

The union said hundreds of jobs will be affected by the proposals, which it warned would cause further problems for high streets already suffering from shop closures, and that staff had not received a pay rise for two years.

Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office, said: “We regret any inconvenience caused to customers by today’s strike action.

“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.”