Consumer Focus report shows post office Locals are failing, says CWU
***Embargo: 00:01 Friday 11th May 2012***
Consumer Focus report shows post office Locals are
failing, says CWU
CWU welcomes findings in the new report by postal watchdog
Consumer Focus which show the shortcomings of the controversial
Locals model for post offices. However, the UK's biggest postal
union says it is unfortunate that the report doesn't examine
the financial realities of running a post office as this leaves
postmasters in the dark.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes, said:
"The Consumer Focus report confirms our concerns that the
Locals model threatens the post office network and the services
which communities rely on. The report draws attention to the
failings of the model, but we are less optimistic that it can be
made to work than the watchdog. The lack of proof that financially
the model is viable for postmasters is disappointing as it leaves
this central question unanswered.
"High quality post office services are unlikely to be
delivered by a retailer whose primary focus is the quick and
efficient sale of his or her retail products - whether that's
petrol, cigarettes or groceries. Their eye will be on the bottom
line and staff costs will be crucial to this, especially with the
ambition of longer opening hours.
"Our postmaster members are concerned at the economic
viability of the Locals model which will ultimately determine
whether it works or not and with it how many post offices survive
this major disruption to the network. Ultimately it could lead to
significant closures or wholesale dumbing-down of post office
The Consumer Focus report - Open all Hours - says that
"significant ongoing improvements are needed if consumers are
to benefit from these changes, with emphasis on driving up service
standards and the consistency and reliability of service provision
- and to make improvements to the privacy, branch layout and
product range on offer."
The Locals model means using retail outlets like petrol stations
and convenience stores to provide minimal post office services from
existing cash desks instead of having separate facilities which are
more private and expert.
CWU is the largest union in the postal sector representing
postmasters and Post Office staff along with drivers, delivery,
sorting and support staff.
For more information please contact:
Sian Jones, Press Officer, tel: 020 8971 7267, mobile: 0779
3314249, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Slocombe, Head of Communications, mobile: 07714504413,