CWU to bosses: ‘We will NOT let you destroy the Post Office!’

Postal, Post Office (PO)

Wednesday 27th January 2020

Shock news that Post Office bosses plan a return to the bad old days of ‘slash and burn’ provoked outrage from the union, when the first closure since the start of the pandemic was announced to stunned staff this morning.

According to the company’s statement, the Crown Office at South Woodford in Essex is scheduled to close in May because the property owner plans to redevelop the site.

But CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey slammed this reasoning as “a pathetic attempt to pass the buck.

“Of course, the real reason is obvious to our members. It’s because Post Office bosses actively want to run down this great public service and reduce costs by returning to the failed strategy of closure and managed decline”

This closure – which is preventable – would be the first since before the Covid crisis began, a period which has seen massive growth in mails products and services through Post Office use across the UK.

Many Crown Offices are reporting higher than expected activity, with long queues and over-worked counter staff – and many poorly staffed ‘franchised’ post offices in particular are struggling to cope.

“Post Office staff and Postmasters were, quite rightly, classified as key workers last year and throughout 2020 and into 2021 they’ve performed magnificently,” Andy continued.

                          Andy Furey

“When the closures and franchising paused last March, we all hoped that this was a sign that common-sense had prevailed and that, at last, Post Office workers were being valued for their vital work.

“So, it’s frankly unbelievable that the people at the top of this company now want to resume driving the network down again.”

The Post Office is legally obliged to hold a ‘Local Public Consultation’ when it plans to close an office and this process is set to begin, although in today’s announcement, the company appears to contradict itself.

It states that “we have no option other than to close South Woodford” but then goes on to promise that “We are committed to re-establishing Post Office services in the area and are looking for a long-term solution,” promises local people that “we will consider all options,” but adds the caveat that “at this time we are not able to put a timeframe on establishing those replacement services.”

Andy Furey describes the company’s approach to the statutory consultation process as “an insult” and as “a cynical exercise in box-ticking.

“They’ve already decided to take post office services away from South Woodford, but then – and only because they have to – they promise residents that they’ll listen to their views, they say they want to restore services, but then tell people they have no idea at all when this might be,” he explains.

“Well this union has a crystal clear policy – No Closures, No Franchises. And that’s the case we’ll be making in the strongest possible terms.

“We’ll speak with local councillors, residents and small businesses, and we’ll also contact the MP for the area Iain Duncan-Smith who has previously fought and defended postal services.

“Our aim is to save our Post Office network – and we will NOT let the top management destroy it.”