Call for strike action over Eastbourne Post Office move

The Terminus Road branch of the Post Office is due to be located at WH Smith from February next year

The Terminus Road branch of the Post Office is due to be located at WH Smith from February next year

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Unions are calling for strike action over plans to move the Terminus Road branch of the Post Office in Eastbourne.

Unite and CWU have called for a strike on Saturday, December 3.

It follows the announcement that the branch is being relocated to WH Smith, also in Terminus Road, in February next year.

Four other East Sussex branches are set to be involved in the action - at Devonshire Square, Bexhill; Melville Road, Hove; High Street, Newhaven; and London Road, St Leonards.

The Post Office is reassuring customers that despite the unions’ call services will not be impacted at other branches in the area.

The Post Office said today (Wednesday, November 30) that it was too soon to say if services will be affected at the five branches where strike action has been called but other Post Offices in the area will be open for business as usual as they are not involved in the industrial action.

Kevin Gilliland, Post Office’s Network and Sales Director, said, “We regret that the unions are attempting to disrupt services for people who want to use Post Office branches in the run-up to Christmas. However, we would like to reassure our customers that, if a strike goes ahead on December 3, it will be business as usual in 97 per cent of our network, with almost all of our network operating to its usual Saturday schedule.

“We know all our people work very hard to make Christmas as easy as possible for customers - the unions’ call for strike action can only cause unnecessary concern in the run-up to the big day.

“Customers who want to check if their branch is affected, or the opening hours of alternative branches, should visit our branch finder at www.postoffice.co.uk for find information on their closest branch.”

A post Office spokesperson said, “The unions are striking over changes we are making to some of our Post Office branches.

“We have around 11,600 branches, most of which are run by independent retailers on an agency or franchise basis and have been for decades. Around 300 branches are directly managed by the Post Office and during the past year we have been relocating some of those ‘stand alone’ branches to nearby retailers, either continuing to run them ourselves from within a retail store or franchising to the retailer.

“In Eastbourne we have recently announced that we are relocating the Terminus Road branch to the nearby WH Smith store (with a dedicated area within the store) – we will continue to run the branch ourselves there and all the existing staff will be relocating when the new branch opens next February.

“The reason for the changes is so that we can sustain branches on high streets into the future and safeguard services. Some of our directly managed, stand-alone branches are not sustainable into the future because off factors such as rising property costs and changing consumer habits. Working with retailers is more cost-effective.

“The unions are also taking action over changes being made to the Defined Benefit pension scheme, with is being closed to future accruals next year.”

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