- The strikes are called in Crown branches which make up only three per cent of Post Office's around 11,800 branch network
- 97 per cent of branches will be unaffected
- Post Office will continue plans to transform Crown Network to keep its branches on high streets across UK
- 70 branches proposed to be partnered with retailers will provide a new modern branch with same Post Office products and service levels
- £70m investment to modernise and grow business in around 300 Crown branches
The Post Office is disappointed at the Communication Workers Union's (CWU) call for further strike action over the August Bank Holiday weekend. The strike action has been called in branches in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Saturday 24th August and Tuesday 27th August, and on Saturday 24th August and Monday 26th August in branches in Scotland.
The Post Office’s around 370 Crown branches are currently losing £37m a year of public money and must be brought into profit. The Post Office proposing to franchise 70 branches with retail partners, and intends to invest around £70m in 300 branches.
Kevin Gilliland, Network and Sales Director at the Post Office said: "We are extremely disappointed at the CWU's decision to call further strike action. This action can only cause disruption to customers, cost our people money and place further pressure on the Crown network which is currently losing £37m a year.
“We must continue with our plans to turnaround 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.”
The CWU have also announced its intention to make a further announcement next week for a call for their members to stop proactively selling Post Office Financial Services Products to customers. The Post Office stressed that these services will continue to be available from its Crown branches and across the rest of the network should this action take place.
The pay offer remains unchanged, and is fair and affordable at a time when the Crown network is loss making. The CWU is demanding a consolidated pay increase of 3.5 per cent for 2012/13 and further increases of 3.25 per cent for 2013/14.
The Post Office challenged the CWU's claims that its cash payments are linked to unreachable transformation targets, stating that future targets would be achievable and shared with the CWU.
This call for strike action will not affect 97 per of the Post Office’s around 11,800 strong branch network. During previous strike action services have also been maintained for customers at the majority of Crown branches.
The Post Office is transforming the Crown network to bring it back into profit by improving customer experience to gain new business. For 70 Crown branches it will be looking to partner with a suitable retailer, whilst at the same time it will invest £70m in the remaining 300 Crown branches to modernise and grow services to ensure their long term viability. Over 10,000 branches already operate through franchises and agreements with retailers. Any branches partnered with a retailer will offer access to the same Post Office products and most recent research has shown that franchise branches offer the same high levels of customer service as Crown branches.
The choice of these branches as potential franchise branches is not a reflection in any way on abilities of the hard working colleagues who work in these branches. Post Office will provide every support to those colleagues working in potential franchise branches as they consider their options. There will be no compulsory redundancies.
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About the Post Office
The Post Office (Post Office Limited) has an unrivalled national network of over 11,500 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of communities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The Post Office has made a commitment to maintaining its network of branches at its current size and reach. It provides around 170 different products and services spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards; Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.
The Post Office serves over 17 million customers a week and a third of small businesses. Some 99.7% of the total population live within three miles of a post office and over 97% live with one mile of a post office. For many rural communities, the post office is the only retail outlet. Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information, visit http://www.postoffice.co.uk/.
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