Union members march over Post Office cuts

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Union members gather on Lord Street. Pic by Lewis Jennings © JMU Journalism

Union members gather on Lord Street. Pic by Lewis Jennings © JMU Journalism

A small group of union members marched through Liverpool today in protest over Post Office cuts.

The Communication Workers Union took industrial action nationally over job losses, pension cuts and branch closures which officials say is putting the Post Office at a “crisis point”.

If the row continues, Christmas postal deliveries could be under threat as unions may consider further action in the run-up to the festive period. This is the second strike in two months.

Neil Barry, a CWU area representative fronting the local action, told JMU Journalism: “The Post Office are intent on destroying this industry as it is. They are now attacking our terms and conditions, they are attacking our pensions, they are attacking our town office network.

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“What we hope to achieve is to get the board of directors and the government involved in a strategy to move the Post Office forward rather than slashing and cutting at every opportunity”.

After an hour’s delay, the march began on Lord Street at 11.30am and ended at the Corn Exchange Post Office in Water Street. Protesters chanted: “Save our Post Offices, save our pensions.”

Mr Barry, who dressed up as the Grim Reaper for the march, added: “Hopefully this day of strike action will get the government and the Post Office to sit round a negotiating table with us and get a strategy to move this company forward for the future.

“The last thing we want to do is to strike coming up to Christmas, losing member’s money, and inconveniencing the public.”

Protesters begin march. Pic by Lewis Jennings © JMU Journalism

Protesters begin march. Pic by Lewis Jennings © JMU Journalism

The strike is expected to affect around 3,500 staff working in Crown post offices, and in admin and supply chain roles across the UK. some branch managers and postal workers also joined in with proceedings.

Matt Wilson, who is the branch secretary of the CWU, told JMU Journalism: “Some of the people here today have got 20 or 30 years’ service in them. If the pension scheme is allowed to close the future of their pensions are going to be affected.”

A spokesman for the Post Office said officials are “disappointed” by the strike but have reassured they are committed to ongoing talks to resolve the issue. They say that contingency plans in place will minimise disruption of industrial action.

Kevin Gilliland, Post Office’s Network and Sales Director, said: “We want to reassure customers that the vast majority of people working at Post Office branches will not be involved and that almost all of our network will be open for business and operating normally.

“The Post Office wants to reach a constructive way forward through talking with our unions.

“More than 99% of people in the UK live within three miles of a Post Office branch, but we must make changes to safeguard that level of service for future generations.”

The Post Office responds to JMU Journalism’s tweet about the strike action.

About Lewis Jennings, JMU Journalism