Post Office workers in Eastbourne are out on strike today (19 December).
Members of the Communication Workers Union are walking out for a total of three days this week – today, tomorrow and Saturday (24 December). It’s in a row of job security, pensions and branch closures. Eastbourne’s Terminus Road branch is due to move into WHSmith next year.
The Post Office is assuring us it will be business as usual during the festive season. Kevin Gilliland, Post Office, Group Network and Sales Director, said, “We had agreed with the CWU that we would resume talks, so we are extremely disappointed that it prefers to call for strike action, particularly at such critical time of year. This can only cause concern for our customers and our people.
“We want to reassure customers that if strike action takes place next week at least 97 per cent of our 11,600 branches will not be involved. Our priority will be to support them.
“We have robust contingencies that will ensure that all branches have the support and cash they need to operate. Experience tells us we can manage this effectively and minimise the impact on the communities who rely on our services.
“Any action will affect fewer than three hundred of our branches, and many of these will be open to maintain services for customers preparing for Christmas.
“It will be business as usual in almost all of our network, with over 50,000 Post Office people on hand to support customers as they make their preparations for Christmas.
“The Post Office plays a vital role in communities all over the UK and the changes we are making support our commitment to keeping these services widely available into the future.
“Our progress is clear - over the last four years, we’ve dramatically reduced our losses and need for government subsidy, at the same time as modernising nearly 7000 post offices, adding more than 200,000 extra opening hours each week, and becoming the largest UK retailer open on a Sunday.”
Explaining why the strikes have been called, Communication Workers Union assistant secretary Andy Furey said, “All of the blame for this unfortunate turn of events is 100 per cent down to the intransigence of the company, who have launched an unprecedented attack on the jobs, job security, and pensions of thousands of hard-working and loyal Post Office workers.
“Our members want the Post Office management to pause its closure and privatisation programme, hold off on its planned pensions changes, and commit to sitting down with us and with the other key stakeholders of this Great British institution and, together, construct a lasting vision.
“We want to work together to build a positive future for the Post Office, its workforce and, of course, the people who we serve.
“The CWU can be a constructive partner to work with, but sadly, the people currently running the company have, so far, chosen the path of conflict and industrial disputes.”