More questions about the future of the Post Office were raised today (Tuesday 10 January) as Unite, the country’s largest union, condemned the latest round of job losses and plans to franchise more high street post offices.
Unite, which represents about 730 managers, branded another 139 redundancies together with the intention to franchise a further 37 Crown Post Offices as ‘another nail in the coffin’.
Unite officer for the Post Office Brian Scott said: “What we have been saying for some time now is coming to pass – salami slicing of a much respected and valued national institution in pursuit of profit. The public will suffer as services are continually and systematically eroded.
“The Post Office announcement also includes the removal of financial service sales from the high street and for them to go online. This is a move away from its previous strategy of engaging face-to-face with customers.
"This is another nail in the coffin of the Post Office and a move to online will make the Crown Office network superfluous to requirements. Customers, who want to take up the services that the Post Office is offering, will have to do it online or on the phone.
“This lack of the personal touch goes against the public purpose and ethos of the Post Office. It also paves the way for further franchising of the rapidly diminishing number of Crown Post Offices, which currently number about 300.
“This will make it more difficult for the ordinary consumer, many of them who are elderly, to access quality services.”
Unite said that the Post Office announcement to franchise another 37 Crown Offices demonstrated little confidence in its own process when it confirmed this will take between 18 months to two years.
Brian Scott added: "This announcement is a disgrace which is compounded by the management’s lack of confidence in their own process.
“This can only add weight to the important argument that the bosses are not interested in a Crown network, which was recently retitled ‘directly managed’ offices, thereby distancing them from the Crown network.
"Unite sees this as a precursor to the full closure of the Crown network which will be quickly followed by the closure of loss-making local and community branches.
“Unite continues to call upon the government to convene a working group to investigate how to secure the future of the Post Office for the benefit of the economy, the public and its workforce.
“Unite also believes that there are more job cuts to come and that the company will soon announce a ‘slash and burn’ approach to its head office. This is despite announcing last week a new senior management structure that increased hugely the number of highly-paid directors.”
Unite and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have been in a long-running dispute over the management’s plans to close the defined salary pension scheme at the end of March which resulted in Unite managers taking three days of strike action at the end of last year.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.