The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 7th December 2018

Save our Post Offices!

by New Worker correspondent

BRISTOL Communication Workers Union (CWU) members took part in the national day of action to save the Crown Post Office network last weekend. The campaign was recently launched by the CWU in response to the bombshell announcement that 74 Crown offices are to be franchised (privatised) to high-street retailer WH Smith — a move that will impact some 800 jobs and drastically cut services to communities.

In Bristol, the protest on Saturday outside the city’s only remaining Crown Post office was supported by the Bristol Mayor and Labour councillors. Bristol Trades Union Council had mobilised its affiliated unions with members of Unite, Unison, UCU, RMT and PCS helping CWU members to distribute leaflets about the closures and to collect signatures on a petition.

Rob Wotherspoon, Bristol CWU Secretary, spoke of the sham Post Office consultation that was only about accessibility to the new premises, not about the principle of transfer.

CWU Executive Member Andy Hopping warned that what we were seeing was quality jobs being replaced by jobs in a precarious environment. He pointed out that we hear everyday that retail is struggling, and as part of this process WH Smith are closing town-centre shops in favour of outlets at railway stations and airports. There is a real danger that we could lose town and city centre posts offices altogether.

Andy said that the Post Office plan was about reducing the quality of service, replacing skilled workers, reducing pension liabilities and paying workers less by moving jobs onto the minimum wage.

Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol, said that post offices are a community space in our city and that they need to be protected, and he promised that he would work with the TUC and trade unions to protect the fabric of our cities, preserving decent jobs with proper pensions. There was a recorded message from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who warned about the managed decline with 150 Crown Post Offices closed in the last few years. He promised that when the Labour Party wins the next General Election they will rescue Britain’s High Streets, end this programme of closures, and bring Crown Post Offices and the Post Office back into public ownership..