- Post Office ‘disappointed’ by call for industrial action but reassures customers that people working in 97 per cent of network not involved
- Contingency plans are ready to minimise any disruption
- Steady progress made in plans to ensure that Post Offices thrive for future generations
The Post Office today called on the CWU and Unite to work with it to continue in its modernisation plans to secure Post Office services at the heart of communities across the UK for future generations.
It said it was disappointed by the call for industrial action which can only cause concern to customers and employees. It urged the Unions to re-consider and instead join it in talks.
Kevin Gilliland, Post Office’s Network and Sales Director, said:
“We can reassure our customers that 97 per cent of our 11,600 branches will not be involved in any action that goes ahead. We will also work hard to minimise any disruption to customers in our 300 Crown branches should they be affected by strike action.
He added that the Unions’ comments regarding the business’s performance are misleading and stressed that people across the business continued to be kept fully informed of any changes that might affect them, including its proposals for changes to its Defined Benefits pension scheme.
“We are making steady progress to modernise the UK’s biggest retail network. These changes are needed to make our services better for customers and ensure that Post Office branches thrive at the heart of communities for future generations.
“We halved our losses in 2015/16 and are making steady progress to reduce costs to the taxpayer by making our business simpler to run and modernising our network, which is now at its most stable for decades.
“Over 99 per cent of people in the UK live within three miles of a Post Office branch. To secure that level of service for the future, there has been significant investment over the past few years to modernise the business and the branch network,” he said
“In just over three years the Post Office has modernised over 6000 branches, leading to improved facilities and more convenient and accessible services for customers. It is now the UK’s largest retail network open on Sundays, with over 4000 branches open seven days a week. Thousands more of its branches are opening for longer, from early in the morning until late in the evening. Extra opening hours across the network total over 200,000 a week.”
“We want to work with our Unions to create the Post Office network that our customers need for the future.”
Addressing concerns on changes to pensions, Gilliland added:
“All of our proposals are taken forward with the utmost care for the people they affect and we’re proud of our track record in supporting people through difficult changes.
“The business’s financial position is improving but we remain loss making. Based on the advice of our Actuary, the fund’s surplus, which is currently being used to help subsidise the cost of the DB Plan, will run out in 2017.
“Once this happens, the costs to the business of meeting existing commitments will significantly increase, and this is not sustainable. We therefore need to close the DB Plan to future accrual when the surplus runs out, because it is crucial that we safeguard the benefits that members have already built up.
“We’ve done what we can following consultation and having taken further advice from our Actuary, to make changes to what we are proposing to try to lessen the impact on individuals. We are clear that our recommendation is the responsible thing to do both for members of the plan, and for the long term financial health of the business. It is currently being considered by the Trustee.”
About the Post Office
About Post Office: Post Office Limited has an unrivalled national network of over 11,500 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of many communities across the country.
It provides around 170 different services and products spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards. Post Office also offers Government services, telephony, foreign currency, travel insurance and mail services.
99.7% of people live within three miles of their nearest Post Office outlet. For many rural communities the Post Office is the only retail outlet. Post Offices remain highly valued and trusted and are the focal point for many communities. For more information, visit www.postoffice.co.uk
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