Post Office dispute – ‘marginally’ increased pay offer ‘still not enough’

Postal, Post Office (PO), PO Supply Chain

CWU tells management to ‘get serious’ on wages, warns of further industrial action to come and condemns ‘provocative’ use of G4S strike breakers…

“An extra half a per cent is not a meaningful offer and I’m not surprised our Postal Executive rejected it immediately,” said CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey, when CWU News spoke with him this morning.

“It’s hard to tell whether they’re just playing games here or if they genuinely thought this marginal increase would be taken seriously by this union – anyway, we’ve said: ‘No’ and the Post Office leadership can expect more strikes in the period ahead.”

Crown Office counter staff, supply chain drivers, cash processors and admin workers have already taken two days of strike action in this dispute, which was called after a ballot in March returned a 97.3 per cent majority for action. In voting for strikes by such a huge margin, members were collectively expressing many months of built-up frustration and anger at the pay freeze instigated by senior management over the 2021/22 financial year.

“It’s worth reminding ourselves that not only has the Post Office insulted our key worker members with such a paltry offer for 2022/23, they also paid no pay rise whatsoever for the previous 12 months,” continued Andy, “and so, when comparing the revised pay offer to the 11.7 per cent RPI inflation for May, one also needs to take into account the compound effect of a wages standstill for the year before as well.

“And let’s also remind ourselves, that year was when our members were keeping Crown Offices open, delivering cash and other necessities to all of the UK’s 11,500 sub-post offices and continuing to serve the Great British public during the most challenging national crisis since WWII.”

Post Office has been engaging the services of private delivery company G4S during strike periods in order to break the strikes and this is seen by the CWU as a “highly provocative” step by management. Andy said: “This is clearly immoral and downright wrong. It’s also a major provocation by them and incredibly expensive too. Taken together with their various other ‘dispute-mitigation’ measures, it’s costing more for them to fight us than it would to settle this pay dispute.

“So, Post Office bosses, please don’t try to tell us you can’t afford a fair pay deal – frankly our members do not believe you.”

With rail workers starting their national strike yesterday, our own BT, Openreach and EE members balloting for action and Royal Mail workers set to start voting in their dispute soon, the Post Office situation is one of several pay fights taking place at the same time. And suspicions are growing that the Government could be pressing employers to keep wages low.

“We send 100 per cent solidarity to RMT members striking this week, and of course to our fellow CWU members in other companies voting on or preparing to vote on industrial action,” says Andy. “What all of these disputes – as well as our dispute – have in common are managements refusing fair pay deals despite healthy profits, which does point to the strong possibility that there are external political pressures being brought to bear on the employers to repress wages.

“It would be good to see and hear our own Labour Party leadership standing up in Parliament more and exposing this, asking the tough questions that put the Government on the spot. We’d like to hear more support and solidarity from our own party – there’s a serious political fight that needs to be waged at the same time as the frontline industrial struggle that we’re waging on the picket lines.

“Our own message is, we reject the derisory offer, we fight on and we fight to win.”