Key stakeholders debate Post Office’s future
CWU leaders welcomed the opportunity to join representatives of several other organisations at the first Post Office Stakeholder Forum in central London on Wednesday.
The union's deputy general secretary Dave Ward explained: "The forum was set up to take forward provisions of last year's Postal Services Act, which formally separated the Post Office from Royal Mail Group.
"While keeping the Post Office under full public ownership, the Act also allows for it to be transformed into a 'mutual' organisation. This is the Government's preferred option and their intention with the new forum is to achieve a broad consensus as to the framework for a mutual Post Office."
The term "mutual" can have quite a broad meaning, the most often quoted example of mutual enterprises are building societies, but the term can also include friendly societies and various other employee and/or customer stakeholder organisations.
Although separation of Post Office from Royal Mail Group was one of the parts of the Postal Services Act that the union campaigned against the CWU accepted Post Office Ltd's invitation to participate in the forum on the basis that separation has now taken place and there is now a need to deal with this changed reality.
As Dave Ward explains: "It is vital that we are fully engaged in the debate to secure the best possible future for our members."
And the union's national officer for Post Office members Andy Furey agreed, pointing out: "It is imperative we embrace the opportunity to be actively involved in this important forum in order to influence the future for our members. Mutualisation could be beneficial for our members if the process is conducted properly; we must therefore be fully engaged from the outset".
Commenting on Wednesday's first forum, Andy said: "The inaugural meeting of the stakeholder forum went well. It was pleasing to see such a broad range of groups in agreement that the Post Office is part of the social fabric of society and that it should be promoted and protected as so, under a mutualised Post Office. The most important issue for us is to ensure greater job security for our members."
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