‘There will be national action on Royal Mail and I would think Counters will be involved. The whole country will come out now,’ Greenford Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) Area safety Rep. Peter Clements told News Line yesterday.
He was responding to trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling’s announcement that the government is pressing ahead with the closure of 2,500 post offices across the UK.
Speaking of the situation at Royal Mail, Preston added: ‘We’ve been up against it for the past two to three years, since they brought in the single delivery.
‘That was the first time they signalled they were cutting jobs.’
He said that ‘it has got worse over the past ten years’ and Royal Mail boss ‘Alan Leighton has slashed the infrastructure to turn Royal Mail into a business.
‘He’s tried to make us look a good proposition for selling off.
‘People are angry and getting ready to walk. We’re fed up with diktats.’
The national CWU condemned the post offices closures decision, but did not propose any action.
Andy Furey, CWU Assistant Secretary said: ‘Unfortunately it seems the government had already premeditated the future of 2,500 post offices across the UK throughout the sham that was called a consultation period.
‘Thousands of submissions were submitted during the consultation period; however it is questionable whether the government took notice of these as they are still proceeding with the planned closures.
‘This is a devastating blow for millions of people across the UK as post offices are a vital and integral part of society.
‘The closures of 2,500 post offices will make life even more difficult for vulnerable people.
‘Instead of spending taxpayers’ money on redundancy packages the government should have invested in maintaining the Post Office network.
‘The government has an obligation to provide banking services for those people financially excluded either by High Street Banks or by location.
‘The Post Office is the logical vehicle for this and providing banking services would fulfil both a political commitment and an important and sustainable future for the Post Office network.
‘In addition to the 2,500 closures Post Office Ltd have also announced plans to privatise 85 Crown Post Offices, 70 of which to WH Smiths.
‘This will further impact on the demise of the Post Office network. Post offices will be replaced by retailers whose primary aim is to make a profit rather than provide a service.’
Mervyn Kohler, Head of Public Affairs at Help the Aged, warned: ‘There is no doubt that post office closures will leave thousands of UK pensioners devastated.
‘Day in, day out pensioners rely on the post office network – for staying in contact with others and for practical services like paying bills and collecting benefits.’
He said that ‘the network has taken a massive hammering over the last decade’ with the government taking away services like benefits payments and TV licences.
He urged: ‘The government must now come up with alternatives that recognise the social and economic importance of the network and the vital role post offices play in communities.’