POST OFFICE: FURTHER DESTRUCTION OF THE CROWN OFFICE NETWORK AND C.700 QUALITY JOBS

POST OFFICE: FURTHER DESTRUCTION OF THE CROWN OFFICE NETWORK AND C.700 QUALITY JOBS

Branches are advised that this morning our members working in Crown Offices have received the devastating news that 74 Crowns will be franchised to WHSmith. This announcement coincided with the WHSmith annual financial results announced to the Stock Exchange early this morning. The list of impacted Crowns is attached to this LTB.

The further link up with WHSmith will result in the loss of approximately 700 jobs, although this could be greater depending on the size of the Crowns. To put this into context, 74 Crowns equates to roughly 30% of the current Crown network, so this is a massive attack on our members’ jobs.

Of the 74 Crowns to be franchised, 33 are currently “hosted” (i.e. currently directly managed by the Post Office within WHSmith premises). We have previously expressed our deep concern that this so called “hosting” within a WHSmith branch would eventually lead to franchising and it seems this has now unfortunately come to fruition.

A CWU press release which is extremely critical of the Post Office’s actions and in particular the extended link up with WHSmith is being issued today and is reproduced below for your information:

COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION CONDEMNS FURTHER DESTRUCTION OF THE CROWN OFFICE NETWORK AND THE LOSS OF APPROXIMATELY 700 QUALITY JOBS

The CWU strongly condemns the plan to ‘franchise’ 74 Crown Post Offices affecting some 700 jobs.

Reacting to this morning’s bombshell announcement by Post Office bosses, the union’s National Officer Andy Furey pointed out that this “equates to almost one-third of the whole network.”

Franchising is “privatisation by the back door,” he pointed out. “This union has always staunchly opposed franchising and it’s no surprise that there has been no negotiation, or even any formal engagement with the union over this matter at all.

“This is going to leave the remaining Crown offices extremely vulnerable and this union will mount the most vigorous industrial and political campaign against this catastrophic action.”

“At a time when the government claims to be on the side of workers it is an outrage that it lets well rewarded jobs go from a public service and hands them straight to a second rate employer like WHSmith who will not only seek to downgrade the terms and conditions of our members but also the service they provide.”

“This is a massive slap in the face for our members who will be devastated especially as they have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to return the Crown Network to profitability.”

The Post Office evidently has a lack of any positive vision for the future of the Crown Network and is continuing with its attack on our members’ jobs and the destruction of a professional service to the public. Also, many Postmasters are struggling to survive due to the constant reductions in their remuneration levels by Post Office management. This situation will be exacerbated with the extension of the “white space” policy whereby the Post Office is looking to open up small branches in close proximity to long-established Crowns and sub Post Offices. This strategy is clearly designed to de-stabilise the long-term viability of these Post Offices.

As Branches would expect, we will be working in conjunction with the General Secretary’s Department to plan and organise political briefings and further developments in this regard will be reported.

Reps and Branches are urged to mount community campaigns to defend the Crown Offices in this latest attack and we are in the process of updating our campaign pack to reflect this unwelcome development. The Post Office plans to transfer these Crowns to WHSmith before the end of the financial year, although there has to be a minimum 90 day TUPE consultation period.

Finally, the Postal Executive will be considering this further attack on our members’ jobs and a dumbing down of a first class public service at its statutory meeting next Tuesday.

Further developments will be reported.

Any enquires in relation to this LTB should be directed to Lea Sheridan on 020 8971 7361 or lsheridan@cwu.org

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey

Assistant Secretary

18LTB577 Post Office – Further Destruction of The Crown Office Network and C.700 Quality JobsAttachment 1 to LTB577-18

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