‘Save Our Post Office’ demand LondonersPost Office (PO) February 12 2024
Clapham residents, faith leaders, MPs, councillors and CWU representatives protest Crown closure plan…
“Clapham will not take this lying down. The fight goes on,” vowed local MP Florence Eshalomi, in a fighting speech to a Clapham Common protest rally on Saturday, while fellow MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy condemned the actions of the Post Office leadership as “absolutely disgraceful” and was cheered by protesters when she said: “Don’t mess with the people of Clapham.”
Hundreds of people had marched to the Common in the latest action of an ongoing campaign to save their Crown Post Office from closure, having met up at High Street Station with banners and placards. And as campaigners gathered, CWU News spoke with Reverend Father Chidi of St Peters and St Paul’s churches who told us: “I’m here supporting our community and standing up for what our people need. People want that face-to-face service and having the human touch – it’s such an important facility for this community,” he added, while London Assembly Member Maria Ahmad told us: “This is an important community asset and with bank branches closing, it’s become even more vital for people. It’s a community hub.” She criticised the consultation process and said If there was a vote among residents, an overwhelming majority would oppose the closure.
Also meeting up for the protest was local resident Marina Keating, who said: “I really need the Post Office, especially since Nat West closed its local branch. I want to keep being able to have this counter service where I can deal with an actual person.” And fellow Claphamite Debbie Novak made the point that “it’s not only older people who need this to stay open, a lot of younger people need it too for parcel services for example. It’s often busy there, customers of all ages.
“When I first heard about this I thought: ‘Don’t take this away from me’ and I started helping with the petition-signings we’ve been doing at weekends and I was with the group who went up to Downing Street with the petition.”*
Forming up behind the giant campaign banner, the march set off, with other banners ranging from the local Trade Union Council and Labour Party to Clapham Women’s Institute. Other marchers held up the placards, some of them home-made too and passers-by cheered and motorists hooted their horns as the demonstration wound its way up the High Street, pausing mid-route outside the Crown Post Office as a show of solidarity and then entering the rain-swept Common.
At the rally, protesters heard fighting speeches from the two local MPs – who told them they were planning to meet with Government Post Office Minister Kevin Hollinrake – as well as London Assembly Member Marina Ahmad, Councillor David Robson and our own Andy Furey, CWU national officer, who thanked everyone for turning up despite the weather and explained the next steps in the campaign.
In his speech, Andy robustly criticised the Post Office leadership and demanded change and a new direction. It was good news that the MPs were meeting with the Minister, he continued and added: “We can make a difference.”
Speaking afterwards, Andy said: “It’s been a great protest this morning and the message to the Post Office CEO Nick Read is clear: You must stop these Crown Office closures. And my message to our campaigners, to local communities is that, with people power, we can make a difference.”
- A petition with over 10,000 signatures has been taken to Downing Street calling for the closure to be halted, and a separate petition has also been submitted opposing the planned closure of another Crown Office, this one in Southall, Middlesex.
- Next Saturday, Southall residents will be marching and rallying to save their Crown Post Office. People will gather at 10.30am outside the Post Office at 38 The Broadway, Southall UB1 1PY