Mini market at the Post Office?

The Putney Post Office is to be part of a franchise to a private company called London Post Ltd, and the Upper Richmond Road site will be redeveloped to include a mini market combined with the postal services. The majority of the staff will be relocated to other London offices which has angered many staff and union representatives.

London Post Ltd plans to open the new style "shop" on November 12.

A spokesman for the Post Office said the move was part of a government drive to cut the cost of running town and city outlets by £50 million a year to help maintain the rural post office network. The spokesman said more than 900 post offices have been franchised nationwide and 95 per cent of them have reported decreased waiting times and speedier transactions. He added full services will continue, as well as the introduction of extended opening times.

But the Communication Workers Union (CWU) condemned the move and is calling on people who use Putney Post Office to show their support by signing a petition opposing the change. CWU regional representative Ian Ward said: "We are going to begin a campaign to retain Putney as a directly managed outlet and will be seeking users to sign petitions and write to the Post Office and their local MPs."

The CWU and Putney staff say the move is nothing more than a cost-cutting exercise in the wake of falling profits. They also claim levels of service will suffer. Its a very successful office and one of the most efficient in south west London. This is not likely to be the case once the changes are made. There will probably be less counter staff and less space dedicated for the post office aspect of the site, Mr Ward added.

An eight-week public consultation began in the second half of August but has been blasted by Putney MP Tony Colman as nothing but a sham, given that a decision has already been made. "For the Post Office network to offer consultation after the event is to pile insult on injury. The way in which this matter has been handled is an absolute classic in mismanagement" he said.

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A Public Opposition Meeting has been arranged for Wednesday 26th September at Lady North Hall, Ravenna Road. 6.30-8.30 p.m.

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