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'Hundreds of roles to go' as Post Office branches downgraded, says union

10 Jan 2017, 16:52

http://news.sky.com/story/post-office-s ... n-10723924

The Post Office has confirmed plans to transfer 37 further Crown offices to franchisees in a move affecting hundreds of jobs.

The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) said the announcement amounted to more than 400 job losses but the Post Office insisted that was not the case as the roles could be transferred to the new private operators.

The number of offices, usually the larger branches found on high streets, to be closed comes on top of 93 that were earmarked to be hived off last year.

The Post Office said there had been no compulsory redundancies under the programme to date.

It added that plans to remove Post Office Money personnel from Crown offices would mean almost 140 additional roles being placed at risk but it said it hoped to redeploy many of the financial specialists affected.

Roger Gale, sales and trade marketing director at the Post Office, said the "vast majority" of its 11,600 branches "are run with partners", and that "in the locations announced today we believe this will also be a more sustainable approach for the long term".

He said: "With consumer habits changing, and the high cost of maintaining premises in prime high street locations, franchising helps us to keep services where our customers want and need them."

The CWU staged a five-day strike before Christmas over the Crown office shake-up and pensions.

Its general secretary Dave Ward said: "The latest round of closures is further evidence that the Post Office is in crisis and that the board of the company, backed by the Government, is simply pursuing a strategy of slash and burn."

He said the decision "sticks two fingers up" at everyone who took part in a recent consultation on the future of the Post Office.

Mr Ward said 75,000 postcards had been returned to the Government signed by members of the public calling for an end to the closure and franchise programme - and that their views had been completely ignored.

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