MORE than 400 Post Office staff will lose their jobs after the company announced the closure of another 37 flagship crown branches yesterday.
The job losses include 127 financial specialists. The 37 closures come on top of the 62 branches earmarked for closure and franchise last year.
The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and Unite condemned the decision, warning that further industrial action was likely.
The unions accuse the government of systematically wrecking the publicly owned Post Office network through closures or transfer of operations to the private sector, including to high-street chain WH Smith.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Today’s announcement comes less than three weeks after the closure of a major government consultation on the future of the Post Office and sticks two fingers up to everyone who took part in this.”
He pointed out that 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.
“The Post Office and the government have completely ignored their views,” he stormed. “While the government spent yesterday talking about building a shared society, today’s announcement, pressing on with the destruction of yet another public service, shows we are reaching the point where we will have little left to share.”
The union has staged strikes in protest at the closure of crown post offices — the larger branches usually sited on high streets.
Unite officer for the Post Office Brian Scott said: “What we have been saying for some time now is coming to pass: salami-slicing of a much respected and valued national institution in pursuit of profit.
“This is another nail in the coffin of the Post Office and a move to online will make the crown office network superfluous to requirements.
“Customers who want to take up the services that the Post Office is offering will have to do it online or on the phone.
“This will make it more difficult for the ordinary consumer, many of whom are elderly, to access quality services.”
Post Office sales and trade marketing director Roger Gale insisted that the company was committed to maintaining its special place on the high street.
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