‘Awful news’ Post Office’s union concerned for future as 600 branches at risk of closure
Post Office 'had been a basket case' says Clive Myrie
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Convenience store chain McColl’s has collapsed into administration today, leaving thousands of jobs at risk. Inside 600 corner shops are Post Office branches and these are also at risk of being closed down. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) released a statement expressing grave concern for the future of the Post Office and said franchising needs to stop, and the Crown network to be “restored”.
CWU Assistant Secretary Andy Furey said: “This is awful news for some 16,000 workers and their families.
“But also it shows how vulnerable essential Post Office services are when they are handed over to private retail chains.
“In McColl’s alone, for example, there are around 600 post offices – five percent of all UK post offices.
“Retail chains are notorious for market volatility and insecure employment.
“And, of course, our first thoughts are for all the workers whose jobs and livelihoods are at risk and we can only hope that their jobs can be saved.”
He continued: “But the broader point that needs to be made here is that making a vital public service such as a post office dependent on these retail chains makes the service extremely vulnerable.
“There have been far too many instances of Crown offices being closed and their work being transferred to retail chains over the past decade or so and this must stop and needs to be reversed.
“Our nation’s Crown Post Office network must be defended, preserved, and returned to its status of 15 years ago when we could say that there was at least one Crown in every town.
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“Surely Post Office leaders must now realise that their franchising strategy is deeply flawed and puts this essential public service at serious risk.
“No to franchising – restore our Crown network,” Andy concluded.
A spokesperson for the Post Office said: “McColl’s has been a longstanding partner for Post Office, providing local communities across the country with access to our products and services.
“We have been aware of the challenges faced by McColl’s and over the last several months we have undertaken considerable work and contingency planning to minimise the impact on customers should any branches be affected.”
We continue to monitor the situation closely and will keep communities updated should there be any changes to their local service as a result of McColl’s announcement.”
The CWU are not the only ones worried about local Post Office’s future.
Lorraine Reeves posted on Facebook: “I have just read mccolls going into administration?I hope this is incorrect?Twerton highstreet do not need another empty building!!!And it is the only post office now apart from Town main post office.It will mean we are forced to go to town.”
Michael Douthwaite asked: “So with McColls at risk will that mean Oakham could loose it’s post office if the worst happen as they have the contract for it?”
Someone else posted in the group Spotted Westbury: “If McColls the shop has shut down with immediate effect does that mean we have no post office counter either.”
Chris Marshall asked: “What will happen to our post office now?!” In the MyWhitchurch group.
There are currently ongoing talks between the administrators and the billionaire Issa brothers who co-own supermarket chain Asda.
It comes after Morrisons proposed a rescue deal yesterday, but it was rejected by lenders.
Morrisons is already in a partnership with McColl’s, which operates more than 200 Morrisons Daily convenience stores.
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