Second post office strike in Swiss Cottage and East Finchley called off as union enters talks
PUBLISHED: 17:17 08 April 2013 | UPDATED: 17:17 08 April 2013
A second strike by post office staff in Swiss Cottage and East Finchley has been called off as unions enter into talks with management.
Post Office workers were due to walk out for a second time this Friday (April 12) in an industrial dispute over plans for some crown branches - owned and run directly by the post office - to be closed and handed over to franchise partners.
But the strike has been called off after the Post Office wrote to the Communication Workers Union (CWU) suggesting talks to resolve the dispute.
Gary Watt, CWU representative for crown post office staff in north and north west London, said: “The reason they want to meet us is because we got such a good result for strike action from our ballot.
“Initially this started off as a dispute over pay and it’s now about pay and the network. You might even say it’s primarily about the network, because it’s people’s job security that is the most important thing.”
Two local crown post office branches in Harben Parade, Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage, and in Viceroy Parade, High Road, East Finchley, were brought to a standstill when workers went on strike on Saturday, March 30.
Unions members voted overwhelming for action as 88 per cent supported the strike.
The local post offices are among 70 crown branches nationwide due to be closed and replaced with franchises in other shops or supermarkets in a bid to stem £40million-a-year losses.
The union is fighting to retain job security and the same pay and pension deal for Post Office staff moved over to franchise partners.
“We’ve had these campaigns before over the years but the level of public support has been quite overwhelming this time,” said Mr Watt.
“The Post Office has been made aware of how unpopular their decision is because people care about their post offices.”
The talks between the CWU and the post office are due to be held later this week.
A Post Office spokesman said: “Our door is always open to discussions with the CWU about the challenges in the crown network, namely how we are addressing the multi-million pound losses it incurs.
“It is why we have been very open with them about the scale of the challenges.”
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