Here we go again : Post Office staff in strike ballot

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Post Office Letter Boxes, St Martin's le Grand,  EC1A 1AA .London Chief Office 19944,000 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.

In a statement, the Communication Workers’ Union said:

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.

Creative Commons License photo credit: sludgegulper

64 Responses

  1. My post, so I get first go. I just signed us up for RM collections this week. Just to send half a dozen special deliveries a week and pick up some first class stamps was wasting 2 or 3 hours a week of someone’s time going to and queuing in the post office. I can’t understand why ANY business would bother.

    Nor do I particularly see what they’re adding to a community. A place to go and glare at your neighbours because they’re being incompetent at paperwork? No thanks.

  2. Snap, client just signed up for collections too. We have large 15″ cubes that go via RM the rest are too big and go via courier. To cart them 10 at a time to the PO was getting ridiculous, 2 people, car and long queues added to the time wasting. Also, due to it being a main post office there were the power tripping jobsworth counter staff and they were just plain difficult most of the time.

    Works out at around 2 quid per collection so now courier and RM call for everything, including our ordinary post … job done!

  3. Dear Sue.

    Just to correct some facts.

    Its not 4,000 post offices but 4,000 Counter Staff in 373 Crown Offices.

    The Local “Sub Offices” are part of a different Federation outside of and independent of the CWU and will not be affected by any strike action.

    As you point out the Crown Offices are mostly in City or Town Centres. Sub offices are usually the Local Post Offices sometimes based in shops but mostly in the suburbs and villages. Hopefully you will now be able to correct the mistakes in your report.

  4. I wonder how many eBay business sellers actually use these large crown post offices which are based mainly in town centres?

    Probably not a lot.

  5. we have agreat deal with our local post office they do all the work we give them all our post
    ok we dont get discounts and collections but its so cost and time effective

  6. We are a small Post Office and we look after a number of local business, we have an arrangement where they will just come along straight to the parcel door and drop off their post which we will process to their instructions in time for that days post. (simples)No queue, no hassle just good quality service, why not check out your local Post Office there are a lot doing the same thing

  7. My local post office has a “drop off and we will process” arrangement for reqular customers. It is a good time saving service.

    Small is best in the Post Office world!

    No strikes they just get on with the job and give service.

  8. We have arrangements with 2 small Post Offices , neither are Crown Offices.
    We pass them daily so there are no unnecessary journeys.
    They both provide excellent service for us , if we have stacks of post , or if theres a queue , we leave it with ’em and pay later.

    collections are fine if you have someone around all day , but some of us aren’t.

  9. I have collections but I am concerned that if these strikes are all over the news then sales will go down. Most people think Royal Mail and the Post Office are the same.

    These unions need to join the real world. It is common place to get a zero pay rise at the moment. Why do they think they should be different?

  10. For those of us who live in Rural Britain we wonder why anybody would use a City Centre Main Post Office. The Parking is usually terrible and often expensive and as for the traffic. While out of town the Villages often you can park right outside the front door of the Post Office. OK they may not have all of the services on offer but they do have most of them. The queues are usually much shorter and the staff are much more pleasant. Then as many Sub Post Offices are also Village Shops you can get a few groceries or your Newspaper or in my case they also do a very nice line in hot Cornish Pasties. So who needs the Main Post Offices when there is a friendley Sub Post Office only just down the road.

  11. “Proof of posting” is about as useful as showing them an old empty crisp packet.

    Royal Mail, post offices or delivert staff all need a wake up call.

    This whole “they are part of the community” nonsense is a joke, have you looked around your community lately.

    No pay rise, they should have pay cuts.

  12. So if you send an item without proof, (because the driver only signs for x bags of mail etc not individual items), when it doesn’t get there, how can you PROVE you ever sent it?
    Is it as simple as saying “It was in that bag I handed over.”?

  13. In fact, there’s NOTHING that puts me off an eBay seller more than the ones who say “I always obtain proof of posting”. They might as well say “I ignore the distance selling regulations” straight off 😆

  14. I gave up on “proof of posting” 2 years ago. What is it good for?

    If an item does not arrive then you have to refund. Thats the law.

    Royal Mail only compensate you for cost not sale price and its not worth the time filling in the forms and checking through all the records. Time is better spent in other areas.

    Anything valuable then send it recorded or special delivery to cover Paypal seller protection terms and to cover those items for which it is worthwhile claiming compensation for.

  15. Proof of Posting is used for claiming against Royal Mail if the item was not delivered. The max claim for 1st/2nd class mail is 100 x first class postage (£41).

  16. I love you Tamebay,you are so considerate for everyone else apart from your selves….Not!

    Suprised you haven’t asked for all PO staff to be sacked!

  17. At the end of the day, Post Office staff are only putting their interest before others and this is only human nature. eBay do it as a business, I do it, all my ex-employers have done it, when you split up with someone they do it. They’re only looking after number one, they properly fear they’ll lose their jobs.

  18. Yes the post office is a critical part of our business. We use city main (crown) office, callers office and also have a PO box there for returns, bills, spam etc. We also use a couple of sub (rural and village) post offices.
    We are in the process of change as we are using one small convenient post office more regularly. (no ques and free parking)
    Our main post office parking is £1 min charge. The PO box is going up from £68 per year to £170 in April. There are usually ques (sometimes out on the street).
    We now pay the reception at our studio complex £60 per year to handle all of our incoming post so RM has priced itself out of the market there.
    We will still take our own packets to the PO because we buy cut price stamps which means come April price hikes, instead of a Special Delivery costing £5.45 it will only cost us £4.60, with similar savings on Airsure / ISF, and a 12 pence saving on every first class large letter.
    It is still cost effective for us and unless we tripple our volume I can’t imagine using Franking or RM collections.

  19. Proof of purchase enables recovery of costs (only) from RM, plus is evidence for claiming on our normal business insurance, which covers up to £200 without tracking. In 12 years only 6 losses incl. Mexico, Argentina, Southampton. Southampton was recorded delivery with no more compensation than without, so why pay the extra. It’s not tracked, just signed for – maybe.

    Support Small Businesses and use your local PO. There are more of them.

  20. Then eBay can offer free shipping to its sellers and buyers.

    And promote eBay to all the Post office customers.

  21. Don’t bother with the Crown or Franchise offices stick with your local office for Quality service

  22. All that seems to happen when royal mail goes on strike is that it looses contracts to other postal services and the confidence of the small business.

    Downward spiral.

    The big wigs in royal mail will always get paid, businesses will always find an alternative as we HAVE to. It’s the royal mail staff who will be out of a job, however it’s their vote that controls that fate.

    If it’s just over a pay rise and not supporting offices that go bankrupt then it’s foolish to strike.

    Wait until there really is a wolf at the door that needs getting rid of.

    P.S I am self employed so only get a pay rise when I work harder 🙂

  23. I would’nt mind if they (RM) actually delivered all the mail we post.

    Just last Month:

    PPI posted on 4/1/2011 EIGHT PACKETS gome MISSING!!!!!

    PPI posted on 14/1/2011 FIVE PACKETS gome MISSING!!!!!

    PPI posted on 18/1/2011 TWO PACKETS gome MISSING!!!!!

  24. What killed the British Motor Industry was crap cars/crap managers.
    During the 1970’s for a time I was an Accountant in a Garage Group. Yes there were some “crap cars”. Often the cars that had been left on the line over a strike or were built on a Friday Afternoon because not only were they always on strike but moral was terrible. Nobody could give a damn. Many of the designs themselves were not that bad. Even the much maligned “Austin Allegro” was not that bad a design. It was the build quality and some very silly decisions that made it a weak car. I remember seeing a copy of a British Leyland Internal Staff Newspaper. In it was an article about a bloke at Longbridge who had got a sizeable award from the Suggestion Scheme. He suggested making the Allegro of thiner metal. Thiner metal if anything it needed thicker metal especially in the stressed areas. “Crap Managers” certainly British Leyland had more than their fair share of those. Indeed serious critisism has been aimed at right up to Board Level. When a Company has the skids under it it is very difficult to attract top quality staff at any level. If BA or one or two other UK Companies gert a reputation like British Leyland then they too will cease to exist.


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