SUNDERLAND’S main Post Office is due to be hit by strike action again today.
A half-day walk-out by members of the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) last week saw managers forced to man tills to keep the branch in Fawcett Street open.
Now the union has called a full-day strike across the country’s network of 373 Crown Post Offices.
The union claims management wants to slash the network by 20 per cent while imposing a pay freeze, and are refusing to negotiate.
Strike action will affect up to 4,000 staff working in 373 Crown (main) post offices.
The union is opposed to Post Office plans to close or franchise 76 Crown offices – 20 per cent of the network – which it says would affect more than 800 jobs.
CWU deputy general secretary, Dave Ward, said the union was predicting a good response to today’s strike call: “Support among our members is growing by the day, with more staff going out on strike last week than in previous rounds of action.
“The Post Office’s arguments on pay and closures is on fragile ground. Their claims of how much a pay rise would cost were out by £6million – double the actual cost – and their closure and franchising plans are meeting stiff opposition across the country with tens of thousands of names on petitions wanting to protect Crown offices.
“The Post Office’s plans on pay and the future of the network are clearly flawed.
“It seems more intent on throwing money down the drain, flying managers across the country on strike days to try and keep some offices open.
“We think their money and focus would be better spent in negotiations trying to resolve this dispute. We again urge them to enter meaningful negotiations to find a mutually agreeable way forwards.”