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Barkingside post office under threat as Redbridge workers prepare for Saturday strike

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 March 2013 | UPDATED: 10:49 27 March 2013

Barkingside post office.

Barkingside post office.

Archant

»Barkingside post office could be closed and moved into a shop under proposals to stem £40million annual losses.

It is among 70 crown offices, which are directly run by the Post Office, earmarked for “retail partners”.

A member of staff, who did not want to be named, said: “I don’t know why they are trying to franchise it.

“It’s so busy here and service has improved and sales are up on last year.

“All that and they are making a move to close the branch.

“There’s no other reason than to balance their paperwork but there’s nothing we can do.

“It won’t be the same service if they franchise it.”

Union members at the branch, in High Street, are going on strike on Saturday over the plans and disputes over jobs and pay.

They will be joined by workers from Redbridge’s other remaining crown office, in George Lane, South Woodford.

The branches are among the 373 crown offices across walking out in protest on the day.

Remaining staff members are hoping to open the two offices but services will be reduced.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said a pay rise due in April last year is still outstanding when staff in other departments have seen wages increase.

But Post Office network and sales director Kevin Gilliland said the CWU was ignoring “harsh commercial realities”.

He added: “Crown branches are currently losing £40m per year and this is being subsidised by public money.

“This cannot continue.”

More than 10,000 branches are already run as a franchise, including offices in Ilford, Seven Kings and Wanstead.

A Post Office spokesman said “no conversations” have yet happened with retailers about the Barkingside office.

She added: “The aim is for branches to be franchised by April 2015 but if we can’t find a suitable retailer then we are committed to keeping the crown office.”


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