4,000 Post Office staff are being balloted on industrial action in a row over pay. Counter staff in 373 Crown offices – the larger offices usually found on high streets and busier locations – will vote whether to strike in protest at not receiving a pay rise, and at a lack of guarantee that no Crown offices will be closed.
Despite increased profits of £72 million last year … Post Office Ltd (POL) has pleaded poverty and is refusing to consider a pay rise for counter staff. The company is also refusing to extend a guarantee on the number of crown offices, which implies that further closures are being planned.
POL say that the network makes an annual loss of £55 million, and said:
We know having no pay increase is a very difficult message for our staff. The unfortunate reality, however, is that the Crown Post Office network is loss-making. … Any form of industrial action will only harm our customers and do nothing to resolve the urgent need to reverse the losses in the Crown network.
Back in September last year, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced a £1.3 billion subsidy package to prevent another programme of mass closures of Post Offices, which are not included in the proposed privatisation of Royal Mail. Ministers have talked of turning sub-offices into a John Lewis-style mutual company, owned by staff, sub-postmasters and communities. Crucially, though, the plans do not rule out the closure of any individual offices which go out of business.
Results of the ballot should be in around 4th March.
What do you think? Is your local Post Office a critical part of your business, or have you – as I have just this week – signed up for Royal Mail collections? Leave us a comment.