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Cumbernauld Post Office to close tomorrow for 5th round of CWU strike action

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 18:29 GMT on Monday, May 27th, 2013.

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CUMBERNAULD Post Office will be closed tomorrow after the Communication Worker’s Union voted in favour of a fifth round of strike action.

The union declared that action - over jobs, closures and pay - will affect up to 4,000 staff working in 373 Crown post offices, after Post Office staff voted by nine to one (88%) in favour of strike action and have already taken strike action on Easter Saturday, April 19, April 29 and May 7. 

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said; "There's growing unrest within the Post Office and it's time that management responded to workers' concerns. There is massive public opposition to the closure and franchise plans and Post Office management have had to admit that their figures on our pay claim were wrong. They cannot continue to plough blindly ahead with deeply unpopular and unnecessary plans.”

The announcement of a fifth strike and the strong statement from Mr Ward comes after the Post Office agreed to pay an extra £100 to staff, following discussions with the CWU. However, as yet, no progress has been made on the bigger issues of pay and the Post Office's plans to close or franchise 76 Crown offices affecting over 800 jobs – of which Cumbernauld Post Office is one.

"We're really pleased that we managed to secure £100 for each of our members at last week's meeting, but the big issues of pay, closures, franchising and jobs remain unresolved. We have been given little choice than to press ahead with a further full day of strike action,” Mr Ward added.

"The support for strike action has increased with every day we've taken and we're grateful for the fantastic support from customers, politicians and local communities also. We're fighting to protect post office jobs and services which are clearly valued. We still believe a common way forward can be found, but it needs Post Office management to focus on a joint resolution, rather than sticking blindly to their flawed plans and throwing money at sending managers out to cover strike days." 

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The full day of strike action is over closures and franchising which would cut 20% of the Crown network and affect over 800 jobs, and also outstanding pay issues. The Communication Worker’s Union also claims that tens of thousands have signed petitions against the proposals, with nationwide public meetings rejecting the plans. 

However, the Post Office have said that the £100 cash payment, to be paid immediately, is a sign of Post Office commitment to making payments totalling up to £3400 before April 2015; they are preparing to spend an £70m investment to modernise and grow business in around 300 Crown branches, with 70 branches proposed to be partnered with retailers will offer same Post Office products and service levels.

The Post Office has also said that they will be “working hard to minimise disruption caused by strike action”, which they claimed would affect only three per cent of the, “…Post Office’s around 11,800 branch network”.

Commenting, Kevin Gilliland, Network and Sales Director at the Post Office said: “We want to end this dispute, but we must also ensure that our high street branches do not fail in the future.  With our people’s help we have made real steps in reducing losses across the network.  We are disappointed at the CWU’s call for further strike action while talks are still on-going. 

“Every hour of strike action is causing disruption for our customers and costing our people money.We remain open to discussions with the CWU on pay options which do not add to the current loss of public money.”

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