The decision by the Post Office to push ahead with the closure of its defined salary pension scheme from the end of March next year was condemned as ‘unnecessary’ and ‘mean spirited’ by Unite, the country’s largest union, today (Wednesday 12 October).
Unite warned that, as a result, its 732 managers would be taking further industrial action in protest within the next month, in conjunction with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Unite repeated its call today for junior business minister Margot James to investigate the Post Office, ultimately owned by the government, to see if the organisation had a coherent business strategy for the future.
Unite officer for the Post Office Brian Scott said: “We are disappointed and angered at today’s announcement that the Post Office management has requested the pension scheme’s trustees to close the scheme from the end of March 2017.
"This decision is unnecessary and mean spirited as the pension scheme is currently in surplus to the extent of more than £143 million. We call on the Post Office to reverse its decision to close the pension scheme.
"This closure will affect Post Office employees and will take away their long term benefits upon which they have invested many years of service. They stand to lose thousands of pounds in retirement income.
"The government has a responsibility for this and needs to accept this responsibility as the shareholder."
"Unite is calling on the government minister responsible for the Post Office, Margot James, to launch an investigation to ensure that this much-cherished organisation has a sustainable future, when currently its prospects are bleak for both its customers and workforce.
"The dispute continues and today’s decision gives us no alternative other than to undertake further industrial action, which will take place within the next month.”
Unite’s Post Office managers took 24 hours strike action on 15 September in the escalating dispute over pensions, job losses and the franchising of Crown post offices.
Unite’s Post Office managers had voted by 64 per cent for strike action with 78 per cent supporting industrial action short of a strike. There are 11,500 post offices across the UK.
Notes to editors:
There are about 3,500 staff affected by the pension scheme closure and the Post Office has indicated that the total number of redundancies this year could reach 1,700, of which 1,100 are pension scheme members.
Unite calculates that under the defined contribution scheme from next April, based on the vagaries of the stock market, staff will lose about 30 per cent of their retirement income going forward – thousands of pounds a year. The defined contribution scheme is already in operation for other members of the Post Office’s 7,000-strong workforce.
Unite said that it is clear that the government’s priority is the sub-office network at the expense of the 300-strong Crown office network which has been the backbone of the Post Office for decades
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.