THE GOVERNMENT has confirmed that almost half of high street post offices are to be handed over to private retailers in the next few years.
A Labour-dominated committee of MPs said last week that “some rationalisation is inevitable” in the network of 555 high street, or Crown, post offices.
Martin O’Neill MP, chair of the trade and industry committee, said, “If large-scale closures are to be avoided Post Office Ltd will need to rely on the successful transfer of branches to franchises at a much higher rate than has been achieved over the past ten years.”
Some 230 branches will be handed over to private retailers. Between 1991 and 1997 more than 400 high street post offices were franchised to retailers, including supermarkets and department stores.
The process was halted by Labour’s election in 1997, but a further 35 high street post offices have been closed or franchised over the past two years.
The Post Office has said that 30 high street offices would shut in the coming five years. The mass closure of smaller post offices is in addition to the programme of privatisation and closure of high street offices.
The CWU postal workers’ union has to take on and fight this plan. We should also ask why we are handing money to a Labour Party which is slashing the network.
Helen Wilson, counters worker
THE Communication Workers Union (CWU) is campaigning to defend one of its members threatened with deportation to Russia. Boris Lidovski faced intimidation by the Russian mafia and is married to a Chechen. His wife Galena has exceptional leave to remain in Britain and her eight year old son was born here.
The home office has turned down Boris’s application to remain. It did not, however, formally withdraw his right to work here—but Royal Mail sacked him anyway just before Christmas. The CWU union was backing him at a tribunal this week as Socialist Worker went to press.
Full story next week