Socialist Worker

More workers join Crown Post Office walkouts

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2380

Clerical workers picket Chesterfield Post Office

Clerical workers picket Chesterfield Post Office (Pic: Jeannie Robinson)

Thousands of workers in Crown Post Offices walked out of work yesterday, Wednesday, against office closures, job cuts and a pay freeze.

Some 4,000 counter staff struck for half a day over plans to close and franchise 75 offices with the loss of 1,500 jobs. It was the thirteenth time they had struck in eight months.

And this time 2,000 admin and cash supply workers also struck for 24 hours against a pay freeze. Managers also took industrial action.

The strike affected 372 Post Office branches.

Gary Watt, CWU area rep for East Finchley was on the picket line at Swiss Cottage in north London—one of many branches closed by the strike.

He told Socialist Worker, “They want to move this office into a branch of WH Smiths, which is very small. The strike has been very good here—none of the staff are working today.”

In Glasgow, CWU regional official Liam Murphy told Socialist Worker, “The strike has been very well supported.

“Cash supply workers were on the picket line from 5am. There were only two managers in the office, and one of those had come up from Birmingham.

“In places like Alloa, Perth and East Kilbride there has been a lot of support for the counter staff.”

The Post Office is offering workers three options. They can take voluntary redundancy. They can transfer into the franchised office if there’s space. Or they can try to find and apply for another position in a Crown Post Office.

But workers have been given only four weeks to find and apply for other jobs.

“It’s an absolute disgrace to treat people like this” said Gary.

The Post Office workers had been set to strike earlier this month alongside a planned national strike of workers in Royal Mail and Parcelforce on the same day. But that coordinated strike was cancelled.

Gary said, “People were enthusiastic that we were coming out with Royal Mail. It felt like we weren’t on our own anymore, it was frustrating it was called off so late.

“But we’re coming to crunch time now. The battle lines are drawn, and people are in it for the long run. We have to hit them with everything we can in the run up to Christmas—then we’re more likely to win.

“We’ve got plans for more industrial action. The Post Office is terrified of what we’ll do to them over Christmas.”

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