CWU welcomes Select Committee Report on Post Office Locals
17th July 2012
The UK's largest postal union, the Communication Workers Union, welcomes the publication of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee's report today (Tuesday), Post Office Network Transformation, which scrutinises controversial plans to change post offices. CWU hopes that the government will act on all of the Committee's recommendations.
Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary,
said: "Today's report brings welcome scrutiny to the
controversial elements of the network transformation programme
which threaten the post office network as we know it. Without the
Committee's work, the 'Locals' model would have been
rolled out largely unchallenged leaving hundreds of postmasters and
their communities facing the loss of core post office services.
"As the report highlights, the suitability of the Locals
model has not been tested and serious doubts over its
sustainability and ability to provide communities with services
exist. For that reason we are calling for a moratorium on any
formal rollout of the Locals model.
"We share the Committee's fear that the Locals model
will only work for large companies like Tesco through their
convenience store network which could suck in limited services and
change the ethos of the publicly-owned Post Office forever. If this
programme marches ahead, post offices close and then services fail
it will either be costly to re-open a post office or will leave
communities without these services. There are too many risks and
unanswered questions and too little consultation and collaboration
with postmasters and communities for this programme to go ahead
CWU believes the Locals model will not put the post
office on a sustainable footing or act in the interests of all
communities and welcomes the ongoing monitoring of the network by
the Committee. CWU shares the Committee's concerns that if a
branch changes its operating model but stays in the same place
there will be no consultation, meaning customers essentially lose
services without being consulted.
CWU asked the Committee to carry out a review of the Locals
model as the union and its members - which includes postmasters,
Post Office staff and postal workers - were concerned that
insufficient scrutiny of the network transformation programme was
CWU is concerned that the Locals model could significantly harm
the Post Office brand.
- a rigorous assessment of Locals involved in the pilot to ensure sufficient flexibility to deliver viable post offices and suitability for different communities.
- a moratorium on further conversions until sufficient testing has been done.
- more testing on the social demographic of Post Office users to determine whether the Locals model meets the needs of consumers and service users.
- Retention of the Core Tier Payment for postmasters (see Early Day Motion 368).
- Government re-examining the tender process if it is going to
make the Post Office the front office for government.
Download the full BIS report
Post Office Network Transformation.