By Nick Clark
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2808

Post Office workers stage solid strike over pay

Post Office bosses offered workers a paltry 2.5 percent pay rise—well-below inflation and effectively a pay cut
Issue 2808
Two CWU union members stand on the Post Office picket line in Paddington, west London, they hold pink CWU signs

CWU union members stand on the Post Office picket line in Paddington, west London (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Workers at Crown Post Offices struck across Britain on Saturday—their second day of strikes against a huge pay cut. The members of the CWU union are fighting after Post Office bosses offered them an insulting 2.5 percent pay increase—well below inflation. That’s effectively a huge pay cut, and follows a pay freeze the previous year. And it comes after Post Office bosses made profits of some £35 million, while workers worked all through the worst of the pandemic.

CWU area rep Clive Tickner told Socialist Worker that every worker at the Post Office in Stamford Hill, north London, had got Covid at some point.

“Last year all those guys worked during the pandemic,” he said. “All of them got Covid at some stage and they’ve been offered absolutely nothing for last year as regards a pay rise at all. This year we’ve been offered an insulting £500 lump sum and 2.5 percent.

“The Post Office can afford to pay up as they’ve just returned a £35 million profit.”

Strikers are also angry that bosses say there’s no money for a pay rise, yet paid billions wrongly prosecuting people in the Horizon scandal. The Post Office had to award huge payouts to postmistresses and postmasters wrongly accused of false accounting—and the government bailed it out with at least £200 million.

Gary, a CWU rep on the picket line in Paddington, west London, told Socialist Worker, “They spent tens of millions of pounds on Horizon, trying to defend the indefensible. They found that money—and the workers are having to pay for it, for their incompetence and lies.”

Joel, another CWU member at Paddington, said that only added to workers’ anger after the pandemic. “During the pandemic the high streets were a ghost town,” he said. “The only people out there were the people classed as key workers including Post Office workers. People were risking their lives—it was the fear of the unknown when you were going to work every day.”

Gary added that meant the strike had a lot of support. “All the public, on this strike and the last one, none of them have disagreed,” he said. “People have said, good luck you deserve it.”

The strike hit 114 Crown Post Offices—the major branches that are still state-owned—across Britain. It comes after workers struck for another 24 hours at the beginning of May. Clive said Saturday’s action across Britain would be “pretty solid.”

“Most of the London offices will be closed today,” he said. “They’ll try and get managers and the odd non-member—though there are very few non members—to try and open one or two. But I think today’s will be better supported.”

Admin and supply chain workers—who transport cash and valuables to every Post Office branch—were set to follow up Saturday’s action with a strike on Monday. Clive said this would hit bosses even harder.

“It will cause real problems for the supply chain of money,” he said. “Spreading the action out will cause maximum disruption to the business and minimum cost to the members.”


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