THURROCK is facing Christmas strike chaos as unions have announced walk-outs at the Post Office.
Cards and parcels could be delayed after staff at the UK’s 300 largest Post Offices – which handle 20 per cent of all post – announced a five-day strike from Monday December 19th which will last until Christmas Eve.
It is the longest continuous strike in the 300-year history of the Post Office .
The Communication Workers Union said 3,000 staff at 300 high street branches will walk out from Monday to Friday next week in a dispute over pensions, job losses and branch closures.
The last posting days for Christmas presents are Tuesday Dec 20 for second class post and Wed Dec 21 for first class letter and parcels.
The 300 branches handle “millions of parcels and letters every day” or an estimated 20 per cent of the letters and parcels posted by members of the public, according to the union.
The strike will have an immediate impact on presents posted at the Crown branches or ordered over the internet.
The Post Office said that the strike did not affect Royal Mail and the company had put “robust contingency plans in place”.
A spokesman said: “We want to reassure customers that if further strike action takes place next week at least 97 per cent of our 11,600 branches will not be involved.
“It will be business as usual in almost all of our network, with over 50,000 Post Office people on hand to support customers as they make their preparations for Christmas.”
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “If any industrial action takes place in Post Office Ltd, Royal Mail will be operating as normal. We expect there to be no or little effect on the services we provide to our customers.”