Post Offices On Strike

Thousands of staff at the Post Office will strike on Easter Saturday in a dispute over shop closures, jobs and levels of pay.

Four thousand staff working at 373 Crown - or main - offices, handling 20% of all Post Office business, will strike on 30 March. Among those affected are branches at Portsmouth, Fareham, Eastleigh, Chichester and Westbourne in Dorset.

The strike is protesting against plans to close and franchise Crown offices and the Communication Workers Union said 88% of its members had voted in favour of strike action.

Last month, the Post Office announced it wanted to close up to 70 Crown offices and replace them with franchises based in other shops. Crown post offices, usually based in High Streets, are currently losing money.

The Post Office said that 97% of branches will be unaffected by the strike.

Kevin Gilliland, sales director at the Post Office, said: "The CWU is ignoring the harsh commercial realities being faced by the Post Office and other retailers across the UK.

"Crown branches are currently losing £40m per year and this is being subsidised by public money. This cannot continue."

The union said it wanted to secure a pay rise for Crown office counter staff, who have not had one since 2011, unlike other workers such as supply-chain staffers and postmasters.

"We want them to stop their flawed plans and instead recognise the immense value to customers of the Crown office network and its staff," said Andy Furey, the CWU's assistant secretary. "If the Post Office continues to refuse to negotiate, this strike will be the first of many."