Fresh strike action at Sunderland Post Office

Steve Keeley of the Communications Workers Union outside the Post Office, Fawcett Street, Sunderland
Steve Keeley of the Communications Workers Union outside the Post Office, Fawcett Street, Sunderland
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SUNDERLAND’S main Post Office was again hit by fresh strike action.

Staff at the Fawcett Street branch in Sunderland, were among workers in the country’s biggest post offices who yesterday staged a strike as part of a long-running row over closures, jobs and pay.

Outlets in Durham City and Chester-le-Street were also affected by the action.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) at so-called Crown offices walked out for 24 hours – the ninth round of industrial action since Easter.

The union is opposed to plans to close or franchise 75 Crown offices – the larger branches usually sited on high streets – saying that services and jobs will be hit.

During previous action, managers have been drafted in to man the tills.

CWU territorial rep David Bowmaker said: “We have had very good support from Sunderland. We feel very strongly about these issues and the action has been solidly supported.

“We are hoping that the Post Office will now sit up, listen and take action.”

The Post Office said the 370 Crown branches were losing £37million a year and had to be brought into profit, adding that it was proposing to franchise 70 branches with retail partners, and invest about £70million in 300 branches.

Kevin Gilliland, the Post Office’s network and sales director, said: “We regret any inconvenience caused by this strike action. We will be working hard to minimise disruption to customer service.

“We must continue with our plans to turn around the Crown network to ensure we keep these branches on high streets and in city centres across the UK. We remain open to discussions with the CWU on pay options which do not add to the current loss of public money.”