Post Office managers who are members of trade union Unite and employees who are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will undertake 24-hour strike action on Saturday 3 December 2016 in a ongoing dispute over pensions.
Around 720 Post Office managers will join CWU members in targeting 300 Crown Office branches for industrial action in a dispute over the proposed closure of the organisation’s defined benefit (DB) pension scheme and the franchising of Crown Offices.
The proposed closure of the DB scheme would take place in April 2017. It is expected to affect approximately 3,500 employees. A defined contribution (DC) pension scheme is already in place for other Post Office employees.
Unite’s members voted 64% in favour of strike action, with 78% supporting industrial action short of a strike. The Post Office managers have already undertaken two 24-hour strikes on 15 September and 31 October 2016.
Brian Scott, officer for the Post Office at Unite, said: “We are taking this action because the management refuses to talk in a constructive manner about the pension scheme which is currently in surplus to more than £143 million.
“This is the retirement income of our members which is at stake and we are not going to stand idly by and let them lose thousands of pounds when they retire.”
A Post Office spokesperson said: “We are frustrated that our unions have called for further strike action. We want to reach a constructive way forward through talks, and have been inviting them to meet with our group executive to discuss our strategy in detail since April this year. Our latest invitation to meet them in December remains unanswered.
“The changes being made across our directly managed [Crown] network are to safeguard our services at the heart of high streets and city centres for future generations. We must respond to changing customer needs.
“Protecting the benefits built up in the [DB pension plan] and keeping it properly funded is the right and responsible thing to do for members of the plan.”
Dave Ward, general secretary at CWU, said: “The Post Office is now at crisis point; it needs a new strategy as a matter of urgency. No-one is thinking of the future. This isn’t good for [employees], it isn’t good for customers and it isn’t good for the future of the business.
“The CWU will not simply stand by and see another British industry destroyed. We have a simple demand; that the government pauses the cuts and brings stakeholders together for a structured period of talks to develop a plan that is about more than managing the decline of the service. Our members and the public deserve nothing less.”