Post Office workers to strike over pay

By Michael Race
Business reporter, BBC News

  • Published
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) picket the Crown Post Office in Paddington during their strike over pay on 4 JuneImage source, Getty Images

Thousands of Post Office staff are to strike in a dispute over pay.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) at 114 Crown Post Offices - the larger branches often sited on high streets - will walk out on 11 July.

It will be the third strike by Post Office workers this year, with the union saying members rejected a pay offer it said was worth 3% and a £500 lump sum.

The Post Office said the vast majority of its branches would be unaffected.

"There are 114 branches, typically in city centres, that are directly managed by Post Office and on previous strike days over a third have opened as usual," a spokesman said.

The Post Office workers are the latest to go on strike over pay, with workers and unions pushing for pay rises to cope with the higher cost of living.

Prices are rising at their fastest rate for 40 years, with UK inflation at 9.1%, the highest level since March 1982. Higher costs for fuel, energy and goods are biting into household budgets.

The government has warned against employers handing out big increases in salaries over fears of a 1970s style "inflationary spiral" where firms hike wages and then pass the cost on to customers through higher prices.

Thousands of RMT Union railway workers walked out last week over pay and hundreds of British Airways workers at Heathrow Airport have also voted to go on strike over their wages.

'Our members feel betrayed'

But CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey said this pay dispute was about "dignity and respect for hard-working employees - essential public servants who, as key workers, provided unprecedented customer service during the pandemic".

"No worker wants to be in this situation, but Post Office bosses can't be surprised that callous decisions are challenged by our members," he said.

"Our members feel betrayed and will not tolerate their living standards being smashed by people in charge of a public service that due to our members' efforts made tens of millions of pounds in annual profits."

Around 3,500 members of staff are involved in the dispute. A strike already took place at the start of May.

The union branded the Post Office's pay offer as "massive real-terms pay cut" and Mr Furey said there was "more than enough money for a reasonable pay rise" for workers.

The Post Office said it was "disappointed" by the planned strike but was "hopeful" of reaching a pay agreement soon.