TONBRIDGE Post Office, in Angel Walk will be closed next week during one of the busiest periods of the year for mail because of a dispute over jobs, pensions and branch closures.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) have officially confirmed they have planned walkouts at all Crown Post Offices on Monday and Tuesday (December 19 and 20), but have publicly said they will last all week, including Christmas Eve.
Post Office Ltd, which formally split from Royal Mail in 2012, has been embroiled in an ongoing dispute with workers as a ten-year cost cutting plan has included unpopular proposals to downsize 61 Crown sites and move them into WH Smith stores.
The Post Office argue that the Crown part of their network has been historically loss making, with losses four years ago of £46million.
Tonbridge Crown Post Office is set to relocate to the WH Smith store at 35-37 High Street in March 2017.
THE CWU said they oppose the closure programme as well as planned changes to pensions.
CWU Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger said: “We genuinely believe if we don’t make this stand for the future of the Post Office and our members then it will disappear from the high street.
“Please remember the Post Office is not just for Christmas.”
Post Office Group Network and Sales Director, Kevin Gilliland sought to reassure their customers that ’97 per cent of our 11,600 branches will not be involved’ would not be involved in the strike, meaning Christmas service will not be dramatically impacted.
He also defended the cost cutting plans, arguing: “Our progress is clear – over the last four years, we’ve dramatically reduced our losses and need for government subsidy, at the same time as modernising nearly 7000 post offices, adding more than 200,000 extra opening hours each week.”
* The last recommended date for sending cards and packages by Royal Mail 2nd Class is December 20.