UK post office staff will be on strike again next week, in continuing protest over pay and the outsourcing of branches.
The Communication Workers Union served notice to Post Office Ltd yesterday, stating that a third round of industrial action will take place next Monday (29th April) from 1pm.
As with the previous two strikes, the disruption will hit only Crown post offices – the 373 post offices owned and operated by Post Office Ltd itself, rather than franchisee subpostmasters.
The CWU said up to 4,000 staff would be going on strike.
Post Office Ltd has not backed down over its plans to have 76 of its Crown post offices run by private sector retail partners. It is also not moving over a pay freeze for staff, although is offering £1,400 bonuses linked to certain modernisation objectives being achieved.
The company wants to make changes to turn around the £40m in losses being racked up each year by the Crown post office network.
But the union said yesterday that Post Office Ltd had “got its sums wrong” on how much union pay demands would cost.
Andy Furey, the CWU national official, said Post Office Ltd had doubled the cost of what the union was asking, and were “out by over £6m” in their calculations.
The union says internal Post Office communications state that CWU claims would cost the company £12m, with the union claiming its call for 3.5% and 3.25% pay increases should cost just over £5m.
“This calls into question the accuracy of other Post Office numbers – including the alleged size of the losses in the Crown network,” Furey suggested.
“We already know that head office costs are a significant burden on the profitability of Crown offices and this should be tackled rather than attacking customer-facing frontline staff. We can help the Post Office put its numbers right, but they must be prepared to find a mutually acceptable solution to pay and the future of the network. Otherwise strike action will continue.”
The union said a meeting with Post Office Ltd two weeks ago had seen the company conceding that its figures were incorrect.
Strike action on Monday will affect only Crown post offices, which comprise just 3% of the 11,800 post offices across the UK. But, being larger branches, the CWU states that the affected branches handle 20% of all business in the Post Office network.