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Crouch End and Muswell Hill post office protesters ramp up fight as endgame looms

PUBLISHED: 12:17 30 August 2017

Campaigners opposed to the transfer of Crown Post Offices in Crouch End and Muswell Hill take action outside UOE's Finchley store. Picture: Steve Jones

Campaigners opposed to the transfer of Crown Post Offices in Crouch End and Muswell Hill take action outside UOE's Finchley store. Picture: Steve Jones

Archant

Campaigners battling plans to transfer a public service to a private business have taken their fight to the company’s doorstep.

Hornsey Pensioners Action Group member Janet Shapiro said retired people are anxious about the privatisation plan. Picture: Steve JonesHornsey Pensioners Action Group member Janet Shapiro said retired people are anxious about the privatisation plan. Picture: Steve Jones

In July the Post Office announced it planned to spin off branches in Crouch End and Muswell Hill after entering into partnership with stationery firm Universal Office Equipment (UOE).

Angry customers reacted by calling for a boycott of UOE products and services with 2,500 people in a Crouch End petition backing a call to reject the plans fearing job losses and a poor level of service would result.

On Saturday protesters raised their banner outside UOE’s East Finchley High Road store calling on customers to boycott it.

Communications Workers Union (CWU) national executive member Steve Jones said: “The only chance we have of stopping the attack on services and decent jobs in Muswell Hill and Crouch End is to take our protest to UOE.

“Anyone who believes this much loved public service will be retained in the long term through franchising is deluded – this isn’t progress, it’s the death of the Post Office by a thousand cuts and must be stopped before it’s too late,” he added.

UOE was slammed further for refusing to recognise postal workers organisation the CWU and putting the service at risk of collapse with protesters saying a limited demand for UOE products on already crowded high streets could see its stores close.

Hornsey Pensioners Action Group member Janet Shapiro said: “There was a friendly atmosphere on Saturday. Several people we spoke to understood our concerns.

“Many retired people are anxious about the franchise. Those unable to afford broadband, and people with poor sight or mobility need to be sure of getting good advice from counter staff,” she added.

In response a Post Office spokeswoman said: “We want to ensure our network of branches is sustainable for generations to come, and we have a strong track record of securing successful retail partnerships which offer the best long term security for Post Office services.

“When we look to make any changes to a branch, we always hold a full public consultation, and the feedback from our customers is a vital part of the decision making process around its future,” she added.

UOE states it plans to open in existing branches in November.

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