Post Office strike called off amid talks

Post Office in central London
Image caption The planned talks will avert a 13th walkout by Crown Post Office staff this year

A planned one-day strike on Monday by staff working at larger Post Office branches has been called off.

The long-running row over jobs and pay stems from plans to franchise or close more than 70 Crown offices, which are usually found on High Streets.

The Communication Workers Union said fresh talks would take place next week.

It comes after a separate Royal Mail workers' strike planned for Monday was cancelled after progress was made in discussions over pay and pensions.

Monday's planned strike by members of the CWU employed at Crown Post Offices would have been their 13th walkout since Easter.

'Serious intentions'

The CWU said it had decided not to go ahead with the industrial action after Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells agreed to hold talks aimed at reaching a settlement.

CWU official Andy Furey said: "In her letter, Paula Vennells commits to authorising whatever resource is needed to evaluate areas where we can move towards concluding an agreement.

"After seven months and 12 rounds of industrial action, we are pleased the Post Office is finally accepting responsibility for this dispute and coming to the table with serious intentions to find a resolution once and for all."

The Post Office welcomed the CWU's decision and said the talks would build on "constructive" discussions this week.

A spokesman said: "While neither of us underestimates the work still to do, the Post Office and the CWU remain committed to resolving the present dispute."

The Post Office had previously said the CWU had turned down a "fair and affordable pay offer" and was calling for above-inflation wage rises at a time the organisation was working to reverse a loss of £116m.

However, a strike by hundreds of managers at Crown Post Offices is still set to go ahead on Monday.

Unite said its members had not received a pay rise since June 2011.

The planned industrial action by staff at Royal Mail, which was privatised last month and is a separate business from the Post Office, would have been their first national strike in almost four years.

The original ballot involved 115,000 CWU members working at Royal Mail and its Parcelforce division.

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