Post Office managers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will be striking for 24 hours on Thursday 15 September in the dispute over pensions, job losses and the franchising of Crown post offices.
Unite’s 732 managerial members will be striking from 03.00 on the same day as the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is taking industrial action on similar issues affecting the way the organisation, ultimately owned by the government, is run.
Unite officer for the Post Office Brian Scott said: “Unite’s members voted strongly for industrial action in protest at the Post Office decision to close the defined salary pension scheme.
“The pension issue needs to be seen against the backdrop of continuing redundancies and the latest franchising of 20 Crown post offices which are a result of the failure of top management to have a viable and sustainable business plan to secure services for the public and jobs for the workforce in the future.
“We are also very concerned that the government is supporting the closure of the pension scheme, while refusing to provide the necessary funding for the Post Office going forward.
“Ultimately, the British public will suffer as they see the services offered by a much-loved institution being eroded by neglect from the top.”
Unite had asked for a government investigation into the Post Office – but this was rejected by junior business minister Margot James. It was made 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.
Brian Scott added: “This decision to close the pension scheme is happening at a time when the scheme continues to be in surplus to the tune of between £100 million to £130 million.
“Unite members are angry that the Post Office is letting them down through a lack of a clear-cut strategy for the business and is adopting an approach of ill-managed decline to try to balance the books.”
Unite’s Post Office managers 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 proposed 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.
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.