More strike action to save Whitstable post office
By Whitstable Times | Friday, April 19, 2013, 08:01
FURTHER strike action is expected at Whitstable's threatened post office this afternoon.
The move follows industrial action on Easter Saturday. Gladstone Road staff have already collected a 3,000-signature petition to save the service and for better pay.
Post Office bosses want to move the service into a shop to reduce the network's £40 million annual losses and reduce its reliance on Government subsidy.
They have condemned strike action and stress the shake up is not a closure programme.
But the Communication Workers Union (CWU) fears there is no money in the franchise, which could eventually leave the town without a post office.
CWU representative Mole Meade said: "We are trying desperately to resolve this – that is why it is only half a day of industrial action – so it doesn't effect too many people.
"We apologise to the community we serve but we need to stand up to protect the service. We are doing the right thing. People have to stand up for what they've currently got, or they will end up with nothing."
But Post Office chiefs said further strike action will achieve nothing but disruption.
Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office said: "We want to keep Post Office branches on high streets across the UK. Any move to a retailer's premises would offer access to the same range of Post Office products and high levels of customer service in a new modern branch.
"The CWU are in denial of commercial realities faced by Post Office.
"These branches are not closing."
More than 10,000 Post Office branches already operate through a franchise agreement with a retailer.
Crown branches make up 3 per cent of 11,800 Post Office branches.
A row over pay has broken out as the union claims a rise was promised in 2012, while bosses say pay agreements are fair – and a freeze is in place for most of the business.