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Iain Duncan Smith urges residents to fight to save South Woodford Post Office

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 February 2017

Iain Duncan Smith Woodford Green MP, branch manager Zaf Sarwar, east London CWU rep Clive Tickner and territorial CWU rep Peter Meech.

Iain Duncan Smith Woodford Green MP, branch manager Zaf Sarwar, east London CWU rep Clive Tickner and territorial CWU rep Peter Meech.

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Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith has issued a rallying cry to residents to support a campaign to save a post office from closure.

Iain Duncan Smith talking to territorial CWU rep Peter Meech.Iain Duncan Smith talking to territorial CWU rep Peter Meech.

The George Lane post office was one of those earmarked to be closed in favour of a franchise early last month, and Mr Duncan Smith will soon be petitioning in the area to ask the Post Office to keep the branch open.

Mr Duncan Smith stressed that the post office’s potential closure would be a huge blow to all the businesses on the high street.

He said: “What we are looking at is a complete blight on this area that will only serve to make residents’ life more awkward and difficult.

“Unfortunately there aren’t many businesses in the area who will look to take up the post office on their offer to franchise.

“The local supermarkets - Waitrose and Sainsbury’s - won’t take them on, frankly, they know they’ll make more money using the space themselves.”

Peter Meech, territorial rep for the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) said the decision to close the branch had been made in haste and that not enough had been done to find alternative.

He said: “The management are being too rigid. We’ve lost one million customers this year and they’re reacting to that.

“They’ve decided, these are the Post Offices not making money and we’re going to try and sell them to make a small profit.

Mr Duncan Smith agreed with Mr Meech’s assessment.

He said: “It’s the kind of economic thinking you would see in the 70s, instead of looking to find new ways to attract new business they are thinking only of how they can cut costs.”

The South Woodford branch currently employs six full-time members of staff, all of whom could lose their jobs if a business takes up the Post Office’s offer to franchise the branch.

Mr Meech: “In some of our more rural post offices we’ve had offices on the franchise list for two or three years, and that’s a horrible position for the staff to be in, waiting for the axe to fall.

“The ridiculous thing is that, once a franchise is agreed and a contract has been signed, then the post office hold a public consultation, but by that point, obviously, it’s already too late.”


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