Campaign developments in fight for post office

POSTOFFICE12CAMPAIGN group Save Aberystwyth Post Office say there have been several developments within the last week in their fight to save the last crown office in a 140 mile area from franchise and closure.

Roger Gale of Post Office Ltd has acknowledged the delivery of the campaign’s petition of over 3000 signature s. In his email to campaigners Mr Gale said: “We know this demonstrates the strength of feeling within the local community”.

He added that there is still no confirmed date for a public consultation over the fate of the Post Office: “as this is subject to us finding a potential partner.”

Most interestingly, despite Mr Gale claiming not to know who the ‘potential partner’ for the Post Office might be, the email to the campaign was signed: “General Manager –Crown and WHSmith!”

Within the same week Post Office Ltd released news of a deal whereby WHSmiths will take 61 Crown Offices over a ten year period under franchising or concessionary agreements. It now seems highly likely that Post Office Ltd want Aberystwyth Post Office to go into WHSmith as part of its deal.

If a concessionary deal is worked out for Aberystwyth, rather than a franchise agreement, then post office staff will remain employees of Post Office Ltd.

Also last week, Jeremy Corbyn used a speech at the Communication Workers Union (CWU) conference to call for Royal Mail and the Post Office to be brought back together under public ownership.

Mr Corbyn told CWU delegates that post offices are under increasing threat: “If we lose high street post offices, we’ve lost something pioneers fought to get,”

“The bean-counters in our government don’t understand the importance of human interaction.”

This week Save Aberystwyth Post Office campaigners were out in Aberystwyth making a film (see attached picture) highlighting some worrying issues with poor disabled access, lack of high street frontage and lack of space for projected higher customer traffic within WHSmith if the deal goes ahead.

Dinah Mulholland, speaking on behalf of the Save Aberystwyth Post Office campaign, said: “How come our post office might be moved into this totally unsuitable building when a perfectly good one exists on G r e a t D a r k g a t e St?”

Ms Mulholland added that campaigners will continue to fight to keep the iconic post office in its purpose built prime location, and will campaign to protect jobs and the terms and conditions of post office staff.

Campaigners have written to Post Office Ltd asking them to confirm the nature of the WHSmith agreement for Aberystwyth Post Office. The letter also recommends that instead of the Post Office being moved into WHSmiths that WHSmiths consider relocating into the Post Office building in Great Darkgate St.

Campaigners will be leafletting outside WHSmith for the next few Saturdays. Other actions are also planned

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Jon Coles

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