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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 December 2018

WHSmith: hands off our Post Offices!

Post Office strike, London, 31.10.16, photo Paula Mitchell

Post Office strike, London, 31.10.16, photo Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

Post Office management has earmarked a further 74 government-run 'Crown' Post Offices to close and franchise out by 2019, in this case to retailer WHSmith.

The Post Office announced the closures only days after posting profits of around 35 million. By contrast, WHSmith has issued profit warnings and its future is not secure. Post Offices have already been totally lost after moving into shops which then closed.

If staff agree to transfer to WHSmith, then 'Tupe' transfer law protections only apply to their terms and conditions for 90 days. Staff in WHSmith are lower paid than Crown Post Office staff.

Readers of the Socialist report on some of the Communications Workers' Union (CWU) protests against closures that took place on Saturday 1 December.

Ipswich

Staff at the site in Ipswich are working from the WHSmith store already, but currently employed and trained by the government-owned Post Office.

Proposed changes would mean WHSmith could run the branch. This will likely mean cuts to services and worsening of employees' terms and conditions in the future.

CWU members gathered with other trade unionists at Westgate Street in Ipswich to support the Save the Post Office campaign.

One local CWU rep said: "If this is allowed to happen then it is another step in the race to the bottom for our members' terms and conditions. The Post Office runs at a profit, so there is no logic in this step.

"Unless, of course, it is the government selling more of the country's silverware to profit-making organisations that want to fill shareholders' pockets while providing less of a service."

The Post Office insists this is part of continuing 'modernisation' of services to meet customer needs. However, the campaign was very well supported by the public, with thousands of people signing petitions and giving full support on social media.

Save our Post Office!

Adam Mitchell, CWU Suffolk Amal area delivery rep

Nottingham

Queen Street, Nottingham is a very busy Crown Post Office due to close and move into WHSmith in January. Grantham, Mansfield and Solihull are also earmarked for closure in the Midlands.

26 people, mainly CWU members, protested against the closure outside the Post Office on 1 December. WHSmith services will be smaller with fewer staff and less expertise.

Nottingham CWU branch secretary Mark Harper said: "I collect 60 to 70 bags of post, collected at least six times a day, from Queen Street. It is one of the busiest Post Offices outside London.

"It is in a central location near to bus and tram stops. The are 12 to 15 staff on the counter, and it has 12 to 15,000 visitors every day - and twice as many as we get close to Christmas."

A visitor who signed the petition said: "The staff talk to me and help me fill in forms. The Post Office is a vital part of the community."

Clare Wilkins, Nottingham Socialist Party

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In The Socialist 5 December 2018:


What we think

Corbyn and trade union movement urgently need to fight for a general election to kick out the Tories


International socialist news and analysis

France: mass demonstrations force president to back down

Midwives go on strike in New Zealand


Socialist Party feature

The growth of artificial intelligence technology


Workplace news and analysis

PCS AGS election: Where now after the PCS Left Unity conference?

Blairite Birmingham steps up union-busting and two workforces plan strikes

Victory! Grimethorpe dinner ladies' strike beats job cuts

Victory for left in RMT union president election

WHSmith: hands off our Post Offices!

Bradford College joins #FEfightback strike for decent pay

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party news and analysis

Austerity: not one more day - Tories out now

Health bosses move goalposts on A&E waiting times: more funds for our NHS now!

Northamptonshire council crisis continues

Arrogant landlords can be beaten

Fatal bus crash - an avoidable tragedy

Racist attack in Huddersfield


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fight Cardiff Council's school cuts

Join the march through Woking against austerity

Fighting NHS and fire services cuts and closures in Merseyside

Socialist Party argues against fire service cuts at Tyne and Wear consultation

Leeds TUC conference to organise fight against austerity

West Midlands Socialist Party women's meeting: our role in changing society

Socialist Students conference date set


 

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Related links:

CWU:

triangleUnions must back a general election and oppose bosses' EU

triangleCommunication workers oppose second EU vote, and back new socialist 'Clause IV' for Labour

triangleManchester posties strike against bullying

triangleHamilton posties walk out against bullying

triangleVictory for democracy at CWU 'redesign' conference

Ipswich:

triangleMay Day rallies in Swansea and Ipswich

triangleObituary: Roger MacKay, a tireless fighter for socialist ideas

triangleSuffolk Tories in retreat?

triangleFight against cuts continues to grow

Nottingham:

trianglePrivatisers sue NHS - kick out the fat cats and fully nationalise our health service!

triangleEU elections: Countering Farage's right-wing Brexit Party

triangleDeliveroo workers protest at firm's Nottingham roadshow

Post Office:

triangleCWU conference: Sharpen up our act? Yes. But weaken our democracy? No

triangleHuddersfield set to lose two town centre post offices

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