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Inverness Post Office closed as Communication Workers Union strike action over pay hits city outlets across Scotland and the UK

By Alasdair Fraser

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Post Office Queensgate.Picture: Gary Anthony.
Post Office Queensgate.Picture: Gary Anthony.

The Highlands’ biggest Post Office branch is closed today because of a national strike over pay.

Inverness Post Office in Queensgate is one of 10 Scottish PO branches and 114 across the UK closed because of industrial action by members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

The dispute has also closed branches at Kirkwall and Stornoway.

A number of city customers unaware of the closure took to social media to vent their unhappiness after turning up to find doors locked at the city centre premises.

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 May 3 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.

“We’re sorry that customers of Inverness Post Office have been impacted.

“The nearest alternative branch is Merkinch, 1 Lochalsh Road IV3 8HU, which is less than one kilometre away.

“It’s open between 9am and 5.30pm today.”

CWU members last month voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

The union said the strike was over a pay freeze for 2021 and the offer of a 2 per cent increase from April this year, alongside a £250 one-off lump sum.

Union officials said the offer was “exceptionally poor” amid the cost of living crisis.

CWU official Andy Furey said: “Despite this union’s best attempts to avoid strike action, the Post Office has displayed no interest whatsoever in meaningful negotiations.

“As such, workers have delivered an overwhelming mandate for strike action.

“The current offer of a mere 2 per cent pay rise over two years is 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.

“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.”

The dispute involves counter staff, as well as those in clerical, administration and call centres.

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