MARCH TO DEFEND MAIL CENTRE! – through Milton Keynes

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Postal workers and their families marching in Crewe on October 25 demanding the Mail Centre be kept open
Postal workers and their families marching in Crewe on October 25 demanding the Mail Centre be kept open

CWU postal workers and their families are marching through Bletchley, Milton Keynes on Saturday, against the planned closure of the Mail Centre.

Paul Moffat, CWU Eastern Regional Secretary, said yesterday: ‘The Milton Keynes Mail Centre directly employs around 600 people and all of these jobs are threatened by Royal Mail’s proposal to close the mail centre.

‘Milton Keynes has one of the fastest growing economies in the UK.

‘If this closure went ahead it would rip out jobs and services from an area of diversity and growth and could threaten the success of other businesses in the area.

‘We have submitted a realistic alternative strategy to Royal Mail that would retain work in Milton Keynes, but it has so far been dismissed out of hand.

‘We’re fighting for a sustainable and successful future for the mail industry in Milton Keynes, which benefits the local community and businesses as well as postal workers.’

Saturday’s march assembles at 1pm at Milton Keynes Mail Centre, Dawson Road, MK1 1AA. At 2pm it leaves Dawson Road along a planned route to the Bandstand, Queensway, Bletchley, where there will be a rally with speakers including Dave Ward, CWU Deputy General Secretary, John Farnan, CWU National Executive member and Paul Olden, CWU Branch Secretary (Eastern No 6).

Meanwhile, the CWU yesterday backed the BERR (Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) Select Committee report into the Post Office Card Account (POCA), with its call for government services to be channelled through the Post Office network.

Billy Hayes, CWU General Secretary, said: ‘CWU warned in August that loss of the Post Office Card Account could lead to the closure of a further 3,000 post offices.

‘We have written to James Purnell MP raising our unease and fully agree with the concerns outlined in today’s BERR Select Committee report.

‘Losing the POCA contract would undermine the sustainability of the post office network and would inevitably lead to the closure of around 3,000 post offices.

‘The impact would be felt by the most vulnerable in society, those least able to travel to an alternative outlet due to poor transport availability, economic, geographic or mobility factors, in addition to more job losses.

‘CWU strongly believes that all government departments should use the Post Office to allow the public to access government services.

‘The Post Office’s unrivalled reach across the UK, together with the public’s trust in its integrity, means the availability of POCA services through the post office network is absolutely fundamental and necessary.’

‘In the current turbulent economic climate the last thing that financially vulnerable people need is a threat to their services.

‘Further Post Office closures would have a negative effect on urban deprived and rural communities which rely on post offices for vibrant local business and community relations.

‘In addition to channelling government services through the network, we believe the government should establish a Post Office People’s Bank to meet the demand for secure government-backed banking and ensure a successful sustainable post office network.’