Government in denial over Post Office changes, says CWU
The Communication Workers Union is gravely disappointed with the publication today (Monday) of the government's response to the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report on Post Office Network Transformation. The union - which represents postmasters and people working across the Post Office - says it ignores the concerns of the Committee and fails to grasp the problems within the network.
Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: "The government is ignoring the fears of postmasters and the communities they serve which are being betrayed by the failing approach to the 'Locals' model.
"We feel the government has unjustifiably ignored the key recommendations in the Select Committee's report and is in denial about the serious flaws in the Network Transformation plan. The government will not be able to sustain their statement of 'no programme of closures' in the long term, due to the lack of take up of the new operating models.
"If the project was as successful as is being purported
then the Post Office would surely have been inundated with requests
to convert, however this has not happened and the Post Office is
desperately trying to seek volunteers, regardless of how this may
"More time must be spent working with postmasters to
develop solutions to the problems the network faces."
The Post Office Local model has been on trial since 2008, yet
the trial is still needing to be modified. It is promoted as
voluntary to convert, but subpostmasters who are reliant on the
success of the project are reluctant to sign up to the Local model.
Many are coming under pressure to convert and others who may wish
to sell or retire fear their office will be closed and forcibly
converted to a Local giving the community no say in the change of
Billy continued: "Whilst changes such as
longer opening hours might on the face it be welcome to the
consumer, in reality, customers tend to stick to their own shopping
habits, and there is evidence that the new regime where customers
have to queue for retail goods in the same queue as those wanting
post office services, has not been welcomed by consumers.
"We would be interested to see an updated list of the
number of branches that have converted to a Local, and those which
have closed and been replaced by an Outreach service where the
local shop has turned down the opportunity to take on a Post Office
Local. We're concerned about the future of our post offices and
encourage the BIS Committee to continue its ongoing scrutiny of
this issue, perhaps by calling the Minister and the Post Office for
The CWU along with its Post Bank Coalition partners, FSB and Countryside Alliance, will be responding to the Government's response by 7th December.
Find out more about CWU's campaigns for the Future of the Post Office.