Norfolk and Suffolk post offices set for disruption because of strike over job losses and pensions

Post Office workers are on strike. Pic: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

Post Office workers are on strike. Pic: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Post Office workers have begun five days of strike action, leading up to Christmas Eve, in protest at job losses, the closure of a final salary pension scheme and the franchising of Crown Post Offices.

The CWU said hundreds of Crown Post Offices will be hit by its industrial action, involving around 3,500 workers, but the Post Office says 97pc of its 11,600 branches will be operating as normal.

According to the Post Office website, Norfolk and Suffolk branches which are likely to be affected include Diss, Thetford, Lowestoft and, somewhat bizarrely, the Norwich Castle Mall branch - which actually shut and moved to WH Smiths in St Stephens Street earlier this year.

The St Stephens Street branch is open today, as are others in Norwich, such as Magdalen Street, Silver Road and Lakenham.

Victoria MacDonald, owner of the Cellar House in Eaton said the post office in the pub would be open until 8pm tonight despite the strike.

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CWU General secretary Dave Ward accused the management of rejecting a peace offer and warned of a continuing closure programme which would mean that the Post Office will cease to exist on high streets.

Kevin Gilliland, Post Office, group network and sales director, said: 'Any action will affect fewer than 300 of our branches, and many of these will be open to maintain services for customers preparing for Christmas.

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'We are disappointed that, whilst we've been holding discussions with the union throughout this week and have made it clear we remain open to further, formal talks at the most senior level, they are continuing to cause concern to customers during the festive season.'

The strikes do not involve Royal Mail employees although there were reports that some workers may refuse to cross picket lines to collect mail from post offices.

But a Royal Mail spokesman said: 'There will be little or no impact on Royal Mail as a result of the CWU strike at the Post Office. Deliveries will carry on as normal and the last posting dates for Christmas remain unchanged.'

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