Strike plans in Bury St Edmunds “disappointing” for Post Office

The main post office in Bury St Edmunds

The main post office in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Archant

Possible strike action by Post Office staff in Bury St Edmunds has been labelled “disappointing” by the company.

The Communication Workers Union decided to ratify a request from its Bury members to ballot over industrial action because of uncertainty over franchising plans.

“We have not yet finalised or announced detailed proposals for Bury St Edmunds and it is disappointing that the CWU have said they intend to ballot the members of staff there,” said a Post Office spokeswoman yesterday.

Late on Tuesday, as reported in the East Anglian Daily Times, the union met to consider the strike proposal, which if it goes ahead is likely to be in late May or early June.

The Post Office announced plans in January to possibly franchise 39 of its crown branches, including Bury, Sudbury and Felixstowe and is now considering various options.

This was followed last week by an announcement that 61 crown post offices across the country are being relocated into branches of WHSmith.

The spokeswoman yesterday said: “We are continuing to consult with our unions and our staff about changes we need to make to maintain Post Office’s presence on high streets for years to come.

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“Our people are a top priority and we have a strong track record of supporting them through change, discussing their options with them individually so they can make informed decisions.

“If a crown post office is franchised, current branch staff have the right to transfer their employment to the new retailer if they wish to do so, in line with TUPE legislation.”

Tim Pavelin, from the Communication Workers Union, said this week the seven union members in Bury had requested the union ratify strike action over concerns for their jobs and saying they had not received answers to questions.

Were Bury’s Post Office to be franchised, the service would likely leave the iconic building in Cornhill where it has been based since 1895.