Post Office workers struck across Britain for the second time on Monday in a fight to stop attacks on their jobs, pensions—and to defend the service.
Bosses at the Post Office want to close some 100 crown post offices and outsource them to private companies such as WH Smith. This will mean cutting jobs.
They also plan to close down the defined benefit scheme for all post office workers and replace it with a worse defined contribution scheme.
The move would mean workers get less when they retire.
Workers in the CWU union and managers in the Unite union struck together for the second time on Monday. Strikers said the action was stronger than their last walkout in September.
Leanna, a striker from a crown post office in Croydon in south London told Socialist Worker, “There’s been a lot of support for the strike. It’s had more impact and more people have joined it.
“Some people in our office were a bit scared but the general consensus was that we should do it.”
She added, “It’s just been going on for so long—they’ve been cutting and cutting. The board of directors just do what they want without any consideration for us.”
Mole Meade, a CWU rep in south London, had visited three picket lines on Monday morning.
He said, “The strike has grown since the last one. People are waking up to what’s really going on.” He added that bosses were targeting CWU reps for compulsory redundancy.
The planned office closures mean some 2,000 workers could lose their jobs.
Leanna said that workers “fear for their jobs”. “You just don’t know which office they’re going to close,” she said.
“It could be any office at any time. If anyone offers enough money to buy a post office they’ll sell it no problem.”
She added, “The pensions are the biggest thing for most people. Some people are losing £100 a week. But for me it’s about the future.”
CWU and Unite members marched in central London on Monday, starting at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which is responsible for the post office.
They carried coffins and marched behind a horse-drawn hearse to symbolise how the attacks would mean the death of the Post Office.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said, “The stakes have never been higher for the future of the Post Office, its workers and the communities they serve.
“The Post Office is at crisis point and the management and government need to listen to the workforce.”
He added, “Staff and the public are seeing little more than a glorified closure programme from the Post Office and it cannot survive by simply cutting costs.”
Leanna said that the march had done “a good job of getting the message out to the public.”
Mole added, “It’s abominable that any government would want to destroy a really good public service that has been around for hundreds of years.”