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Postal workers across the Midlands have gone on strike today in a row over jobs, pay and closures.
The Post Office says it is looking to shut or franchise out around 70 crown branches as part of a plan to save money. But postal unions say the proposals are putting jobs at risk.
In response to today's strikes at more than 300 crown Post Offices nationwide, the Post Office issued the following statement:
"Crown branches are currently losing £40 million per year and this is being subsidised by public money.
This cannot continue. We are committed to the Post Office remaining a key part of UK high streets and our plans ensure this will happen."
As well as opposing branch closures, the CWU are also demanding an end to pay-freezes for its members.
And stress that unless an offer is forthcoming, more industrial action could be on the cards."
ITV News Central spoke to people in Kings Heath in Birmingham about the prospect of their local Post Office branch closing or becoming a franchise.
Those asked don't understand why the Post Office needs to make the changes to the retail side of the business.
Jim Reeves, from the Communication Workers' Union, says the argument to close 70 Crown Post Offices is flawed because the business is profitable.
He spoke to ITV News Central outside the Kings Heath branch in Birmingham as staff went of strike this morning.
Out of the 70 Crown Post Offices which could be closed or being offered up for franchise, 11 are in the Central region. The branches are:
- Acocks Green in Birmingham
- Boston in Lincolnshire
- Chelmsley Wood in Birmingham
- Kings Heath
- Sutton Coldfield
- Telford Central
Post Office regrets CWU call for strike action at 370 Post Offices tomorrow; we apologise for any inconvenience caused - 97% not affected.
Many of our Crown branches have opened this morning. The remaining 11,500 branches are unaffected by strike action.
Over 100 Crown Post Office branches have opened this morning out of the 370. The remaining 11,500 branches are unaffected by strike action.
Staff at a Post Office in Kings Heath will walk out in protest over jobs, pay and closures today.
Commercial Workers Union members will be protesting outside the branch as it is one of 70 that could be closed or turned into a franchise.
300 Crown Post Office staff members, from across the UK, are expected to walk out in support of the protest.
The Post Office say that nearly 12,000 branches are unaffected.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) claims that plans to close or franchise 70 of the UK’s biggest post offices - known as the Crown network - will affect hundreds of jobs.
Dave Ward, the CWU's deputy general secretary, said, "Our Post Office members are standing up against destructive plans which would slash 20% of the Crown network and are simply asking for fair treatment and job security.
"The Post Office's plans are short-sighted and would rob the network of the most productive offices while simultaneously putting hundreds of jobs at risk and potentially damaging local economies.
“We'd like to see a better vision for a successful network which maintains services in the heart of communities alongside quality jobs.
"We're confident this could be achieved if Post Office management would agree to negotiations".