More like Faulty Towers than a Post Office

The WH Smith store which will be the new location for Burnley Post Office.

The WH Smith store which will be the new location for Burnley Post Office.

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I write having read Dominic Collis’ extremely informative article regarding the privatisation of Burnley Head Post Office to WHSmith’s newsagents.

If anyone is taking the so-called consultation process seriously then I am sorry to say the Post Office always embark on this meaningless path but never ever change their policy once a franchisee has been selected.

Of the 20 something offices privatised in the Lancashire and Cumbria area in recent years, not a single office has been saved as a result of the consultation process.

Any letters of objection are best sent direct to Smith’s themselves - you are wasting your time objecting with the Post Office. Their idea of a consultation is to inform you of their decision as a done deal and try to tell you why they think their policy is correct.

As far as concern for the staff is concerned, a lot of public opinion and anger is defused by the smokescreen surrounding the legal right to transfer from the Post Office to Smiths under TUPE legislation. This sounds comforting on the face of things and I see the Post Office are trolling out the same old strategy in Burnley.

Anyone taking this seriously should ask themselves a couple of questions:

a) how long do you think Smith’s would continue to pay highly-qualified counter staff’s rate of pay to a group of employees while the rest of the store would be on substantially lower rates?

And b) ask yourself why, from the 20 something already privatised offices to date involving hundreds of people, no-one has taken up the TUPE option. Clearly, it is not the safeguard the privateers would like concerned people to think it is.

It is difficult to comprehend why a company like Smith’s, who if the business press is to be believed have been struggling of late, would want to make themselves unpopular in a town where thousands have signed petitions against the move and the local borough council has passed a motion condemning the move to a private outlet.

What sort of business logic is that? The customer coverage they are suggesting with two screened positions says it all. Burnley would have a coverage to resemble “Faulty Towers” on a good day.

I was disappointed to read Mr Bellamy’s recent letter to this page and could not make up my mind as to whether he was simply supporting Post Office policy or supporting the MP or indeed both. What was clear, whoever he was, that he had no interest in a fight to save this premium service for Burnley residents. He is entitled to his view.

It seems our MP, who told campaigners this would never happen and that Julie Cooper was scaremongering, has got it wrong yet again and is now asking for the plan of the franchised office. This smacks of rearranging the chairs on the Titanic when the iceberg has already been struck.

Andy Tatchell

Padiham