Union also warns the move cast doubt on the future of the network

Tim Lezard

Post OfficePlans to move a fifth of main post offices into local shops will result in more than 700 staff losing their jobs, the CWU has warned.

The Post Office yesterday said it would close 70 Crown post offices, with their work being done by counters put into nearby shops – a move described by the CWU as a “partial destruction of the Crown network” and raising concerns about access to services and survival of the post office network.

Billy Hayes said: “This is a huge blow to the network. Staff will be in shock at the scale of what will effectively be closures of Crown post offices across the country.

“This move will have a huge impact on the high streets of small towns earmarked to lose their Crown Post Office. These offices provide a dedicated specialist service to communities which will not be replicated by a window or two in a bigger shop. We’ve seen problems with access to post office services in previous franchise arrangements and fear this announcement could create further barriers to accessing a range of post office services.

“It leaves huge questions about the future of the Post Office – how can it realistically deliver services for passport applications, identity services and a range of financial services while being dramatically pruned back? What does it mean for Metropolitan Police plans to move into London post offices? What will it mean for the health of the high street and the many small business who rely on Crown offices for postage and banking services?

“This move could be very damaging to the future potential of the network. And with no meaningful consultation with the union, our members have had this situation imposed upon them. This flies in the face of Post Office and government strategy to move to a culture of mutualisation.

“We’re strongly urging the Post Office to re-think these proposals and consider the future of the network, the communities it serves and the services it provides. At a time when the government is investing £1.34 billion in the Post Office, PO management’s imagination is limited and all they can think about is cutting costs and reducing services – where are the plans for growth?”

 


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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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