Post Office workers are on strike today (3 May) after recieving a ‘degrading’ pay offer that falls significantly below the cost of living, according to their union.
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) delivered a 97.3% vote in favour of industrial action on 70.2% turnout after they were offered a 2% pay rise from 1 April 2022, following a pay freeze in 2021.
Staff have also been offered a £250 one-off lump sum, adjusted pro rata for part-time workers.
However, the union has described the pay increase as “exceptionally poor” in light of the rising cost of living. The retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation, which many trade unions refer to in pay negotiations, rose to 9% in March 2022.
According to XpertHR, the gap between the average UK pay settlement and RPI is the largest it has seen since it started collecting pay settlement data in 1984.
Post Office postal assistants currently earn less than £24,000 per year. The strike has closed more than half of the 114 crown Post Offices across the UK and is affecting cash deliveries and collections at some of its 11,500 sub-post offices.
Rising cost of living
CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey said the Post Office’s pay offer was “nothing short of an insult to these key workers who provided exemplary services to this nation during the pandemic”.
“As the cost-of-living crisis mounts, working people across the country are facing stark realities. This isn’t any less true of Post Office employees, who deserve far better than the degrading offer currently on the table,” he said.
“Post Office management need to understand that by undervaluing these workers, they have provoked real anger across the country. We urge them to get round the table with us and reach a decent, fair agreement that shows respect for Britain’s key workers who kept Post Offices open for society during the pandemic.”
A Post Office spokesperson 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.
“Of the 114 branches – typically in city centres – across the UK that are directly managed by Post Office, 50 have been able to open today whilst 64 are closed.”