Threats to franchise Local Crown Post Offices

The firm ‘Universal Office Equipment HQ at, 120 High Road, East Finchley, London N2 9ED’ intends to take up franchise of several crown post offices: Muswell Hill, Crouch End, Stoke Newington and an Independent for Finsbury Park.

But we do not want our crown post offices to become private businesses.

Please take part in the consultation, either on line or by writing.

Esther Singer outside East Finchley Crown Post Office

The deadline for the public consultation for Crouch End is September 6th, and for Muswell Hill September 13th. You can give your feedback on these proposals by completing the Post Office online survey via the following link postofficeviews.co.uk and entering: Muswell Hill N10 4DQ or another post office you are concerned about.

You can also email them on [email protected]

Royal Mail is privatised, but Post Office Ltd remains in public hands. Hornsey Pensioners has in the past year written to both the director of Post Office Ltd. owned by the government, and the minister responsible, but the replies indicated that Post Office Ltd must be financially viable, hence the search for firms to take over franchise.

Hornsey pensioners took part in the official consultation event for Muswell Hill Crown Post Office on Wednesday 16th August.  The business man applying for the franchise, Elliott Jacobs was present. He was told that counter staff at Muswell Hill were unhappy about transferring to his shop. I asked him whether he would recognise and negotiate their union CWU and he declined.

On Saturday August 26th I visited the shop at East Finchley that took over the franchise of the Crown Post Office. Our group had opposed the franchise, the  photo is dated April 2013, and the franchise took place in 2014.  The shop is well laid out, but the merchandise of office and art materials fronts the entrance with post office services towards the rear.

In Muswell Hill we already have shops – Rymans for office equipment, and ‘Art for Arts’ Sake’ for artists’ materials.  Do we need more such outlets?  While there I approached one of the counter staff at East Finchley and asked whether she was a member of CWU – apparently not.

The Communications and Workers Union (CWU) conducted a picket that morning to object to further privatisations of post offices in this area. The CWU over many years has negotiated pay, conditions and career path for post office counter staff.

For us as customers, the union plays a role in maintaining standards, making sure that post offices services are conducted in a professional manner. They make sure that the staff we depend upon for advice are well trained.

Janet Shapiro