Over the Easter weekend, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that families across the country are ‘waking up in fear’. Warning of how skyrocketing energy and food prices will be ‘the first and overwhelming thought of the day’, he spoke of the appalling reality that too many are ‘waking up to cold homes and empty stomachs’.
The Archbishop isn’t wrong. Across society, working people are facing unjustifiable hardships. This isn’t any less true of Post Office employees, who have announced today that they will be taking strike action on Tuesday 3 May. On the day after the Bank Holiday, every single one of Britain’s 114 Crown Post Offices will close for a 24-hour period. Deliveries will stop, and there will be no cash deliveries or collections from the country’s 11,500 sub-post offices.
The reasons for this strike are simple: dignity and respect. The strike is in direct opposition to Communication Workers Union (CWU) members having a pay freeze forced on them in 2021. Furthermore, management has only offered these workers—who played such a key role during the Covid-19 crisis—a 2 percent pay rise and a £250 one-off lump sum payment.
For too many workers, this offer reflected the arrogant and downright disrespectful attitude of Post Office senior management. When the national context is that the RPI rose from 8.2 percent in February to 9 percent for March, and with inflation predicted to continue to shoot through the roof as the year goes on, this offer is a severe real terms pay cut for the Post Office’s dedicated, loyal staff.
The union has been told that management is freezing pay in keeping with official government and public sector pay policy. But that’s an excuse, and a dishonest one at that. The government’s austerity measures do not apply to the Post Office. The other aspect is that workers are being told by senior management that since they’re a commercial operation, they are required to make a profit—profits made by the hard work and dedication of our members, who are then denied a fair share.
In the face of this hypocrisy, it’s no surprise that in March, workers voted by 97.3 percent to move to industrial action. The complete disrespect Post Office management have shown towards them has provoked real anger, and this astonishing margin is evidence of it. So too will the picket lines on Tuesday 3 May.
Our members did not want this disruption. The fault of this dispute lies entirely at the hands of management, who refuse to display any interest in respectful negotiations.
But Post Office workers won’t roll over and accept a collapse in their living standards. They deserve far better than the degrading treatment they’re currently receiving—and that means a decent, fair pay agreement that protects the living standards of these key workers while the country hurtles into crisis. We welcome your solidarity and support, and hope to see you on the picket lines on 3 May.
Source > Tribune
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