Campaigners calling for u-turn over Post Office move

16 Feb 2017, 18:39 ... -1-8389796

Campaigners have called on Post Office bosses to rethink plans to move Hartlepool’s branch to a nearby shop. It was announced last year that the town’s Crown Post Office, in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, was set to close.

Edwin Jeffries, joint branch secretary for Unison Hartlepool, with Clare Williams, Unison's regional secretary.

The postal services are due to move to inside WH Smith’s store, which is also in the shopping centre, by the end of March.

Trade union leaders met yesterday outside the town’s Central Library, in York Road, to protest against the upcoming move. They believe it could significantly impact on postal service in the area.

The event was organised by Unison, one of the UK’s largest unions, which represents staff who provide public services in the public and private sector.

Also in attendance were the Communication Workers Union (CWU), and Sue Jeffrey, Labour’s candidate for Tees Valley Mayor. Paul Clays, regional secretary of the CWU, said: “I can’t see why anyone would want to close a public service and put it in the back of a paper shop. “It makes no sense to me. “It would make much more sense to put it in the library and allow it to deliver a real public service. “That would be much more beneficial for the members who work there, and for the public.”

It is not yet known when the planned move of the Post Office will take place. Yesterday’s event was part of ‘I Heart Unions’ week, which aims to highlight the importance of trade unions and the work members do.

Clare Williams, regional secretary of Unison and chairwoman of the Public Services Alliance, said: “We were highlighting the role and importance of trade unions. “We enjoyed talking to people about why they should be in unions. “We also highlighted the impact of the government’s cuts in this region, particularly in Hartlepool. “There have been lots of public services cutbacks, as highlighted with the Post Office.”

Sue Jeffrey, Labour’s candidate for Tees Valley Mayor, said the campaign had her full support. She said: “I’m absolutely full square behind the campaign to keep public services. The Post Office is a key part of that. I very much support Unison and the Communication Workers Union in this campaign.”

A Post Office spokesperson said: “The move is to ensure that the branch is sustainable into the future. “It will provide the same services but with longer opening hours, including Sunday opening. “Staff at the current branch have the right to transfer their employment if they wish to do so, in line with TUPE legislation and we are discussing options with people individually.”

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