While the number of Christmas cards which are sent through the post may be on the wane in favour of e-cards and social media messages, families now fear that cards and presents may not make it to loved ones in time for Christas Day as a result of planned walk outs.
Post Office staff have revealed they are planning to strike over the busy festive season in protest at branch closures and job cuts. Shop counter staff are making threats to walk out during the hectic days leading up to Christmas, as part of strike action on December 19, 20 and Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, Post Office cash handlers say they will walk out on December 22 and 23.
Any industrial action will be coordinated by members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU). Union bosses say the strikes are being deliberately timed to disrupt deliveries in the run up to Christmas.
The threatened action has led to fears from families who rely on the Post Office for a number of services as the festive season approaches. Businesses also fear they may be impacted if they unable to access Post Office services.
However, unions say they feel they have no choice but to take decisive action in a bid to save jobs. According to their figures, more than 6,000 Post Offices have been closed down in 14 years.
If a resolution cannot be reached before the strike dates, then action will involve 4,000 workers. A total of 300 Post Offices will have no choice but to close for the days affected or operate on a skeleton staff. However, smaller branches are expected to be hardest hit, particularly those in rural neighbourhoods where they can act as a lifeline, because they will not receive their usual cash delivery.
Workers say they will be striking because of job losses, branch closures and the end of a final salary pension scheme, which will leave them worse off in retirement.