CWU accuses Post Office meditation scheme of failing as 90% of requests are rejected

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Services (UNI), CWU,

Post Office logoA CWU member, suspended without pay more than a year ago, is still waiting for their case to be referred to Post Office’s mediation scheme.

The evidence has come to light as the union today at the BIS Select Committee accuses the Post Office’s new scheme of failing, with 90% of cases being referred for mediation being rejected.

The union believes justice for postmasters is being compromised as a result of problems with the company’s IT system, Horizon.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: “The Post Office’s Horizon system has caused no end of woe for postmasters up and down the country and to add insult to injury the mediation scheme set up to resolve these problems is simply not delivering as promised. This is a double failure which needs to be tackled urgently as the lives of many postmasters continues to be ruined by this IT system with an inadequate route for resolution.

“We have serious concerns over the Post Office’s policy of withholding postmasters’ wages to recoup apparent losses without any evidence of blame on the part of the postmaster. This transfer of risk onto the postmaster is unfair and in some cases is undermining the ability of postmasters to provide reliable, high quality services to the public. The fact that 90% of cases recommended for mediation have been rejected by the Post Office rings alarm bells and we want to see an urgent overhaul of the mediation scheme to ensure it truly tackles the concerns and injustices faced by postmasters.”

Postmasters have reportedly suffered appalling treatment in disciplinary hearings by the Post Office as a result of discrepancies in their accounts when using Horizon.  Some have been prosecuted for false accounting and have lost their jobs and their livelihoods and some have even been imprisoned. Others are currently in the midst of attempting to defend themselves against allegations of false accounting which continue to be levelled by the Post Office.

CWU’s postmaster members report that the support systems provided by the Post Office are inadequate with the wrong advice and assistance regularly being issued by Post Office help-desks.

CWU’s evidence will be presented by national official Andy Furey and branch secretary and current postmaster Mark Baker.

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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