Postal workers vote to strike over job cuts

Postal workers have voted to go on strike in a row over post office closures, job cuts and pensions, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has announced.

The Post Office insists only 41 per cent of members want a strike. Picture: Getty Images
The Post Office insists only 41 per cent of members want a strike. Picture: Getty Images

The union said the Post Office was “on the path to extinction” as the ballot saw a majority of 83.2 per cent vote in favour of industrial action.

But the Post Office said only half of CWU members had taken part in the ballot, meaning just 41 per cent of members had voted in favour of the strike.

The company said 97 per cent of its 11,600 branches would not be involved in any industrial action, but added that it would work to minimise disruption in those affected.

The planned action comes amid concerns that public funding for the Post Office has been withdrawn, revenues have stalled and that staff and customers are “paying the cost”, the union said.

Dave Ward, CWU general secretary, said: “Staff in the Post Office face 2,000 job losses this year, the closure of their pension scheme and a strategy of slash and burn from the board of the company. The Post Office is at crisis point.”

He added: “The Government has to step in, convene a summit of key stakeholders and hammer out with us and the board a strategy that will give the Post Office a future. It cannot wash its hands of this and simply stand by as a national institution goes under.

“Just as we have seen with Tata Steel, this is another clear example of the Government having no plan whatsoever to stand up for British industry.”

But the Post Office branded comments about its performance as “misleading” and said they would “cause undue concern for customers and employees”.

It said it had halved losses in 2015-16 and was making “steady progress” in reducing costs to the taxpayer.

Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director, said: “We must continue with our plans to modernise our network and make it better for customers. We are taking the right actions to ensure that Post Office branches thrive.”

The Post Office called for “continued dialogue” with the CWU following the ballot.

“We will give serious consideration to any ideas that our unions put forward to help us create the Post Office network that our customers need for the future, and urge them to continue to work with us,” Mr Gilliland said.

“We are happy to talk and continue to invite the CWU to join us at the negotiating table.”

About 3,500 CWU members in Crown offices, supply chain depots and administration sites across the UK were due to be balloted on strike action, the union said ahead of the vote.