Post Office reassures Chichester customers as strike looms

The Post Office in West Street, Chichester
The Post Office in West Street, Chichester

The Post Office has promised customers it will work hard to maintain services at its Chichester branch when strike action is taken by union members.

Staff members belonging to the CWU have voted in favour of action on Monday, September 30, in a dispute over closures, franchising, job losses and pay.

The union’s strike at the country’s 372 Crown post offices is its 12th round of action over plans by the Post Office to close and/or franchise 75 Crown offices, 20 per cent of the network, and cut up to 1,500 jobs.

“If the Post Office thinks this dispute will simply fade away they are sadly mistaken. Our members are fiercely opposed to the company’s plans to close and franchise offices, slash jobs and impose a pay freeze,” said Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary.

“The company’s plans are to downgrade the network, reduce services to local communities and hit jobs in the network. There is no mandate for this course of action and customers across the country are appalled at the reckless attitude of the Post Office towards these public services.”

But the Post Office has labelled the union’s demands as ‘unrealistic’ and vowed to minimise disruption to customers.

“The CWU are calling for an above-inflation pay agreement when last year our overall performance was a loss of £116m; we must reverse this loss of public money. Strike action can only cost our people money, cause disruption to customers and threaten our plans to turn the business around and keep our branches on high streets and in city centres across the UK,” said Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office.

“The CWU have refused their members a fair and affordable pay offer of cash payments totalling up to £3400 by April 2015, and are failing to recognise the financial realities faced by the Crown network.

“Any action will not affect over 97 per cent of the Post Office network and the majority of Crown branches have remained open during previous strike action.”

He said the Chichester branch is one of the 300 which will be receiving part of the £70m investment to modernise the retail area, improve services and make it as easy as possible for customers to access the wide range of services on offer.

The Post Office also stressed the Chichester branch had remained open during previous strike action. Should there be any disruption to customer service, posters will be displayed at the branch to advise customers of the closest alternative branches.