Staff deliver new PO strike

Wigan town centre Post Office, Wallgate

Wigan town centre Post Office, Wallgate

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STAFF at Wigan’s Post Office will walk out on Friday for the second time in a fortnight as part of an increasingly bitter pay and closures battle.

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has served notice of more strike action in the country’s network of 373 Post Offices, including Wallgate’s branch.

It is fighting management plans to close or franchise 76 as-yet unnamed post offices which would affect over 800 jobs.

Shop stewards are also fighting to win a “fair pay” rise for staff who have had no rise since April 2011 and voted recently by almost nine to one to support industrial action.

CWU national officer Dave Furey said: “The Post Office is in disarray.

“We have really been left with no option other than to take further strike action.

“We took the offer of talks from the Post Office in good faith, only to be subjected to one of the worst meetings I’ve endured as a union negotiator because this management is currently not interested in resolving this dispute.

“They are determined to charge headlong into a damaging closure and franchise programme and are deaf to the reasonable options we have tried to put to them on pay and the future of the network.”

But a spokesman for the Post Office said that further strike action will only cause “needless disruption” and won’t halt modernisation plans.

He also accused the staff union of being “in denial” over the commercial realities now facing the Post Office.

The services will be available from 70 branches proposed to be partnered with retailers.

Meanwhile, he said, the post office network was currently losing £40m of public money and this “cannot continue.”

Post Office Network Director Kevin Gilliland added: “We want to keep Post Office branches on high streets.

“We are investing £70m in 300 Crown branches and are proposing to partner 70 branches with suitable retailers, so these branches aren’t closing.”