High street crisis ‘proves danger’ of franchising our Crowns


Terrible recent news of retail closures and job cuts across Britain’s high streets prove the truth of the dire warnings that the CWU has raised about the damage being done to our Crown Post Office network over the past few years.

“Sadly, over the past few weeks, we’ve heard repeated news stories of shop workers being put out of work and retailers shutting shops – and only yesterday WH Smith announced that some 1,500 jobs – approximately 11 per cent of its whole workforce – could be cut,” says CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey.

“As well as being an awful time for workers in that company and across this sector – the retail jobs crisis also of course raises extremely serious questions about the Crown office services that have been taken over by this retailer and others over the recent period.”

Andy has written two urgent letters to Post Office chief executive Nick Read, specifically raising concerns about two instances – in Chorley, Lancashire and Kirkby on Merseyside – where Crown offices which have already been franchised are now being offered out again by the Post Office.

“I expressed my view in strong terms to Mr Read at this state of affairs – that at this time, when these particular franchise exercises have clearly failed, and against the backdrop of closures and job losses right across the retail sector, it is nothing short of astonishing that the Post Office still seems intent on stubbornly pursuing this deeply damaging strategy,” he explains.

In both letters, Andy patiently sets out in detail the union’s reasonable and rational arguments against franchising and draws particular attention to the way that our remaining Crown offices have provided an excellent and much-needed service to the British public during the terrible recent period.

“If private retailers are closing units, then those with franchised Crown office services are extremely vulnerable – and surely now the people charged with running the Post Office must realise that it’s time to call a final halt to this policy.

“As I’ve made clear to Mr Read, our country needs a stable, dedicated Crown Post Office network – and the current high street retail crisis, coming on top of the Covid-19 pandemic, provide a full and complete vindication of every warning this union has made about the dangers of franchising.”