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Post Office branches close amid strike action over pay

Branches in Kirkwall, Stornoway and Inverness will be closed to customer today.
Branches in Kirkwall, Stornoway and Inverness will be closed to customer today.

Post Office workers in the Highlands and Islands are staging a one-day strike today in a dispute over pay.

Branches in Kirkwall, Stornoway and Inverness will remain closed until Wednesday as part of a nationwide strike.

A total of 10 main Post Offices across Scotland will be shut for the next 24 hours – a fraction of the 114 branches set to close across the UK.

The closures have been prompted by industrial action by members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) who say the 24-hour walk-out is their last resort.

It follows anger over a pay freeze in 2021 followed by an offer of a 2% pay rise from  April this year alongside a £250 one-off lump sum.

Post Office staff in Inverness are striking today in protect of the firm’s 2% pay rise proposals.

Speaking to BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Carol Bowmaker, area counters representative for the Communications Workers Union (CWU) said income is failing to meet rising living costs.

Speaking from a public walk-out in Glasgow, she said: “For the last two years, our members have been at work and kept the offices open through all the lockdowns and their award for that from the Post Office is a pay freeze. They have offered them no pay rise whatsoever for 2021.

“They have said they will offer 2% for 2022.

‘It is just not enough for people to live’

“The problem is that everybody knows about the rising price of living – petrol prices, electricity prices – and to our members 2% for over two years with the hike in national insurance of 125% is actually only worth 0.75% which is pennies.

“With the cost of living hike, it is just not enough for people to live. We actually have people in full-time employment now who are having to physically visit foodbanks to be able to live.”

Ms Bowmaker added: “At this moment in time, the government said that anybody who earned under £24,000 a year was to get a pay increase. Our people earn less than that so to say they are not due anything because of the public service is just smoke and mirrors.”

Branches in Waverly Market, Wester Hailes, Haddington and inside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, West Nile Street, Springburn Way in Glasgow and Saltcoats are among those expected to be closed today.

A Post Office spokesman said: “We want to assure our customers that the vast majority of our 11,500 branches are unaffected by the CWU’s decision to instruct their members to take strike action on Tuesday 3 May and will remain open throughout the day.

“There are 114 branches – typically in city centres – across the UK that are directly managed by Post Office.

“In Scotland, there are 10 branches that could be impacted. These are Edinburgh City (Waverley Market), Wester Hailes (Edinburgh), Haddington (Edinburgh), a branch inside the Scottish Parliament, Glasgow (West Nile Street), Springburn Way (Glasgow), Inverness, Kirkwall, Saltcoats and Stornoway.

“Posters are displayed which show where the nearest alternative branches are located.”


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