Strike action closes Burnley post office

The Post office on Hargreaves Street
The Post office on Hargreaves Street
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Burnley’s main Post Office closed on Tuesday as workers staged one day of industrial action.

Around a dozen employees walked out of the Post Office, in Hargreaves Street, in a row over pay and plans to close the service in its current form. The Express revealed in February plans to franchise 20% of all British Crown post offices, including the Burnley branch, almost certainly leading to the loss of jobs and services.

Under the plans, branches will close and Post Office services will be operated from shops.

Mr Andy Tatchell, assistant secretary for the CWU in Lancashire and Cumbria, said the decision to strike was not taken lightly and said it was done the day after the Bank Holiday to minimise disruption for customers. He said the strike was part of a programme of industrial action to oppose plans to move the Post Office and freeze workers’ pay.

Other Post Offices in the area were not affected.

Mr Tatchell said: “We haven’t had a pay rise for two years. The Post Office is not proposing to sit down and negotiate for the next two years.

“They’ve offered workers a one-off payment but it’s not enough.

“The problem is when you take industrial action it has to be within a period of 28 days. If that period lapses, you have to re-ballot members.

“They don’t really like to do it. They have a tremendous rapport with the public.”

He added petitions to save the Post Office in its current form, distributed by the leader of Burnley Borough Council, Coun. Julie Cooper, had been met with much public support.

“The last thing workers want to do is make the public feel like they are not valued. The aim is to make the Post Office come back to the negotiating table.”

Mr Tatchell said Burnley Borough Council bosses were also in talks over the future of the town’s main Post Office.“They are trying to see if there is any other alternative,” he added.