Post offices are being urged to take their first industrial action in more than a century in a row over an unpaid £2.2million bill.
The National Federation of SubPostmasters is calling for more than 11,000 branches to stop separating first and second class post in protest after Post Office Limited stopped paying them for separating different types of mail behind their counters – called ‘segregation’.
George Thomson, general secretary of the NFSP, said: “Enough is enough. POL’s decision to halt segregation payments is outrageous and unjustified and is another devastating attack on subpostmasters’ livelihoods.
“The time has come to make clear we are not going to stand for it any more. We are determined to make sure that viable, sustainable post offices remain at the heart of local communities and so the action we have called is designed not to impact on those who rely on our members.”
The move came days after the NFSP warned many post offices face a “disastrous financial situation”.
The survey of 743 NFSP members revealed only 17 per cent see a strong future for their business and more than half saw income drop in the past year. It also found that government and financial services have failed to generate income.
Leicester subpostmaster Vipul Pabari said April’s parcel price changes, which raised postage costs by up to £2.70, have also harmed business. “It’s affecting me and everyone else. Certain sizes of parcels are so expensive it has driven many customers to use cheaper carriers.”
Kevin Gilliland, Post Office network and sales director said: “The payment referred to was an additional incentive scheme aimed at improving performance. This was a five month trial from November 2012 to March 2013 which was agreed with the NFSP.
“Performance did not improve significantly and consistently across the network and the payment was put under review. We are in discussion with the NFSP over next steps but will not conduct those discussions through the media.”