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Why Post Office staff marched through town in Halloween costumes today

31 Oct 2016, 16:04

What might happen to your Christmas post is the really scary part ... n-12103173?

Striking postal workers marched through the city centre in Halloween costumes this morning over cutbacks to jobs, branches and pensions.

Employees dressed as witches and the Grim Reaper in protest at the decline of government-run Post Office branches, with several closing or outsourced on Merseyside over the past decade.

Christmas post could be thrown into chaos this year if the row continues, with unions considering further strike action in the run-up to the festive period.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) were involved in the walk out.

Merseyside branches closed as a result of the strike today include Old Swan, Corn Exchange, Bootle, Breck Road and Dingle, with Ormskirk also shut.

A Post Office spokeswoman said most local branches remained open, but added that offices had to be modernised to meet changing customer demand.

A postal workers demonstration outside Debenhams on Lord Street.
Most local branches have been franchised and are now run by independent businesses, rather than directly by the Post Office.

The strike comes after a similar walkout in September , which saw several Post Offices closed and picket lines set up outside.

Neil Barry, north west rep for the CWU, said: “Every week we hear reports of franchising, with offices shoved into the back of shops - it’s an inferior service.

“We want to make the people of Liverpool aware of the [government-run] crown offices - there were about 40 once, and now there are only around 10.

“It’s also about job security and the attack on the pension scheme, as we have seen jobs slashed over the past few years.

“This strike is to get the Post Office to sit down and talk to us. If they don’t there is the possibility of strike action, potentially putting Christmas services at risk - the last thing we want to do.”

Kevin Gilliland, the Post Office’s Network and Sales Director, said: “We want to reassure customers that the vast majority of people working at Post Office branches will not be involved and that almost all of our network will be open for business and operating normally.

“The Post Office wants to reach a constructive way forward through talking with our unions. More than 99% of people in the UK live within three miles of a branch, but we must make changes to safeguard that level of service for future generations.

“The Post Office is committed to keeping its branches at the heart of communities. But we must also respond to changing customer needs.

“Over the last four years, we have modernised over 6,500 branches, adding more than 200,000 extra opening hours each week, and becoming the largest UK retail network open on Sundays.”

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