Taking our Post Office plan to WestminsterPostal May 20 2019
CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey will urge the Government to take “a more interventionist approach” to secure the sustainability of the Post Office when he gives evidence to a top-level Parliamentary Committee tomorrow.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the current circumstances of the network and its future and over the coming days, the Members, who are all senior backbench MPs. Will be hearing from all of the key stakeholders, including Citizens Advice, the Post Office leadership and others.
“This inquiry has been called as a direct consequence of our campaigning efforts over the recent period,” Andy explains, “and our full submission to the Select Committee is a powerful contribution that highlights the ongoing problems with the overall direction of the Post Office arising from its leadership and government policies.”
Branch closures and franchising to private retailers must stop, the union insists, and there must be a “new strategy based on investment, innovation, growth and decent employment standards,” which must include “the creation of a national Post Bank through the Post Office network” and for the Post Office to be the “front office for Government services.”
An overhaul of governance and “more rigorous accountability” are also on our union’s agenda, he continues, adding that the CWU will take the opportunity to “elaborate upon our vision for a prosperous Post Office for the future.”
Fighting for ‘worker status’ on behalf of the CWU’s hundreds of Postmaster members is another crucially important demand, Andy explains, adding that the union is aiming to “get pay up to at least the national minimum hourly rate plus paid holidays and a workplace pension” and the Post Office should negotiate direct with the CWU to achieve a secure future for the network.
Andy is scheduled to give evidence to the Select Committee from 9.30am in the Grimwald Room in Portcullis House.
- The 12 key recommendations that comprise the union’s position are as follows:
- Government must urgently take a more interventionist approach to secure the sustainability of the Post Office network.
- An overhaul of governance and accountability in the Post Office, with new rights for workers through their unions to have more involvement and influence over how the Post Office is run, and a more rigorous process of accountability for POL.
- An independent commission should be established to make recommendations on governance and accountability going forward.
- There should be a review of whether the Government has fully exercised its oversight functions in relation to the Post Office, or whether those powers need to be significantly strengthened.
- An immediate moratorium on Post Office closures and franchising and a guarantee on the future of the Crown Office Network.
- Abandon the current Crown Office closure and franchising programme, the low cost PO Locals model and the ‘white space’ programme.
- A new strategy for the future based on investment, innovation, growth and decent employment standards. This includes the creation of a national Post Bank through the Post Office network and a re-commitment to making the Post Office a “genuine Front Office for Government”.
- Publish where the money is coming from to fund POL legal costs and how potential liabilities, that could total hundreds of millions, will be met.
- Sub-postmasters should be granted worker status to reflect the reality of their employment relationship and to help address their current exploitation and lack of rights.
- The CWU should be recognised by the Post Office for collective bargaining purposes on behalf of subpostmasters and Post Office employees who TUPE transfer to WH Smith under a franchising agreement.
- Where franchising takes place, the Government should put measures in place to ensure that staff terms and conditions are preserved and that pay is not cut or skills lost and jobs downgraded.
- If the private sector takes on Post Office services, there should be a contractual obligation on the private sector to meet the costs of ensuring that staff are treated fairly and that their terms and conditions are preserved.