Halloween funeral procession for jobs, pensions and future of vital public service
MORE than 3,000 Post Office workers went on a 24-hour strike yesterday while their union and its supporters staged a deathly spectacle fitting for Halloween.
Their jobs, pension funds and the future of the service were “mourned” by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) staging a funeral procession through Westminster — complete with a horse-drawn hearse, pallbearers and grim reapers.
Workers at post office branches, admin departments and in supply chain units fear they will lose their jobs and that Crown branches would be put out to franchise.
The Post Office said about 80 of its branches had been forced to close.
Staff — who also went on strike last month — gathered outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy before hordes of people watched the sombre procession make its way through Westminster to the tunes of a brass band.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward warned that the Post Office was at risk of demise.
He said: “The Post Office is now at crisis point — it needs a new strategy as a matter of urgency.
“No-one is thinking of the future. This isn’t good for workers, it isn’t good for customers and it isn’t good for the future of the business.
“The CWU will not simply stand by and see another British industry destroyed.
“We have a simple demand — that the government pauses the cuts and brings stakeholders together for a structured period of talks to develop a plan that is about more than managing the decline of the service — our members and the public deserve nothing less.”
The People’s Assembly joined the march in solidarity with the picketing workers.
National organiser Tom Griffiths said: “The action by the CWU sent a powerful message that the Tories’ policies are ripping the heart out of our communities and this shows they are attacking us in so many ways.
“Westminster ground to a halt at the sight of coffins and death and a fantastically morbid brass band. Everybody got the message.”
In April, the Post Office announced that it was planning to transfer up to 61 branches into WH Smith stores over the year.
It said the move was part of a 10-year plan to cut costs and save money but CWU said up to 2,000 jobs could be lost as a result and it could see the pension scheme close.