Today’s (Tuesday 17 May) announcement by the Post Office to cut 600 jobs in its cash handling operation, Supply Chain, led to calls from the CWU and Unite for the Post Office management to resign in protest over government funding cuts to the service.
The job losses announced today come on top of an expected loss of up to 500 frontline jobs from the franchising of 39 of its flagship Crown post offices and the loss of over 50 dedicated financial service experts selling products in branches through a further savings programme.
The CWU and Unite believe the Post Office is in crisis and heading for extinction unless the government and company change course.
Dave Ward, general secretary of the CWU, said: “With this latest round of job losses, the management of the Post Office has to face the facts that it is in crisis and heading for ruin. If they care about the future of the network they should resign in protest at the straight-jacket government cuts have left them in.
“The Post Office was split from Royal Mail in 2012 in the run-up to privatisation and we are yet to see a plan that will secure its future. With a cut in its funding from £210 million in 2013, to zero in 2019, these job losses show that under Sajid Javid’s leadership the Post Office is heading the same way as the steel industry.
“This year alone CWU members in the Post Office face 500 frontline job losses in branches, 500 job losses in its cash handling business supply chain and the closure of their pension scheme. There is a perfect storm in the Post Office and our members will expect us to act to defend them.”
Brian Scott, Unite officer for the Post Office, said: “The redundancies of 79 Unite members announced today, take the total number of proposed job losses to 130 in the last two weeks. These proposals tear the heart out of the Post Office and put it on the road to destruction.
“The Post Office’s business plan, which was agreed with the government, has failed. Those at the top should accept the blame for that – but instead they are adopting a slash and burn approach in an effort to cover this up.
“We will not sit back and watch them destroy a public institution.”
Both the CWU and Unite are now calling for the government and the Post Office to halt the programme of cuts and to sit down with unions, customers, small businesses and communities who rely on it, to put together a fresh strategy that can develop new services and safeguard it for the future.
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
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.
The Post Office’s cash handling operation, Supply Chain, provides collection, handling and distribution of cash across the post office network (11,500 post offices) and for external customers. The Post Office briefed staff about the job losses in Supply Chain this morning.
The Post Office is also currently in the process of franchising 39, and closing 3, of its Crown Post Office branches which are directly operated by the Post Office. This is likely to mean up to 500 frontline staff leaving the Post Office in the coming months.
Alongside this, the Post Office is consulting on a proposal to close its defined benefit pension scheme which will mean around 3,500 employees seeing a significant reduction in their pension entitlement.
The CWU (the Communication Workers Union) is the recognised union for non-management grades, and Unite is the recognised union for managerial grades, in the Post Office.