Postal services hit by second strike

CHRIS BISHOP The Royal Mail will be hit by a fresh wave of strike action tomorrow (Monday) over transferring services from post offices to WH Smith stores.

CHRIS BISHOP

The Royal Mail will be hit by a fresh wave of strike action tomorrow (Monday) over transferring services from post offices to WH Smith stores.

Hundreds of members of the Communication Workers Union will take industrial action from 6am to noon in protest at plans to close 85 so-called crown offices and move services to the High Street retailer.

King's Lynn's historic Baxter's Plain post office is among those affected by the plan and thousands have signed a petition in protest at the move. It is not clear whether workers at Lynn would be joining the strike.

Workers at the UK's 465 crown Offices staged a similar walkout last Friday as part of the national postal strike, which crippled deliveries.

The union regards the WH Smith move as privatisation and has warned that 1,500 jobs will be axed and workers who remain will suffer pay and pensions cuts worth thousands of pounds.

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National officer Andy Furey said: "Members have been left with no alternative but to take strike action as management are steam rolling ahead with closures of crown post offices across the UK.

"The plans announced by the Post Office will have extremely negative impact not just on postal workers but also for the public."

The union said it expected tomorrow's strike to lead to crown post offices being closed or badly disrupted until lunchtime.

The CWU warned there would be further strikes unless the Post Office returned to negotiations with an improved offer on pay and job security as thousands went on strike on Friday.

Mail across East Anglia was crippled by the walk out, with few homes and businesses receiving their post.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "We will try to keep as many crown offices open as possible.'

The postal organisation said managers will be drafted in to work in affected offices, while the 13,800 sub post offices are not involved in the dispute and will all be open as normal.

Around 25 crown offices were forced to close because of last Friday's strike, said a spokesman.

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