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Stop the Closures!

Closures

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National Postal Workers Day: support from the community

 

Whitstable Royal Mail delivery office is due to close in January next year. Herne Bay delivery office has already closed and been relocated to Canterbury. We have yet to hear what the effects of this decision might be.

Because it is a bad decision.

Firstly it is bad for the environment. Currently the two offices are served by two lorries apiece, which bring the letters to the town where they will be delivered. Once the delivery offices are closed, up to 100 postal workers will be expected to drive to Canterbury to pick up the mail, to drive back to their round, to drive back to Canterbury to drop off the mail, and to then drive home again.

Economy

Thus four lorry journeys will be turned into four hundred car journeys. This will be particularly hard around the Military Road area in Canterbury, which is already subject to air quality checks. I wonder how the people living around there will view the massive increase in traffic to their streets if these closures go ahead?

Secondly, it is bad for the economy of the towns, as the jobs are moved out. Currently the majority of workers in the offices are from the town where they work, but how long will this last? Jobs that begin and end in Canterbury will be taken up by people living in Canterbury, thus depriving the people Whitstable and Herne Bay of a major employer in the heart of their towns.

Thirdly it will be bad for customers, who will be deprived of a convenient place in their town to pick up their undelivered mail.

Tom Willis, south east England regional director of the Royal Mail, said that the company is “committed to providing convenient and local facilities for customers to collect their mail”. As yet he has entirely failed to fulfil this promise.

In the same letter, Mr Willis said that “whilst the decision to close a delivery office is not subject to public consultation (as this is a business decision), we always consult our staff and the union.”

This is untrue. There has been no consultation with staff, and while the agreement with the union following on from the strikes of 2009 includes a reference to the closure of mail centres, it makes no reference to the closure of local delivery offices. In fact the Kent Invicta branch of the Communications Workers Union is entirely behind our campaign.

He also inadvertently gives the game away. This is a business decision, he says. But whose business is it? For the time being at least, it is still our business. It is still publicly owned. The Royal Mail remains a public service. It has a duty to the public to consult about decisions which will directly affect the quality of our service.

Up till now it has entirely failed to do that.

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