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Plan to spin off Crouch End Post Office sparks boycott

PUBLISHED: 14:59 01 August 2017

The Save Our Post Office Crouch End Residents' Group has launched an official boycott of the new retail partner, Universal Office Equipment (UK) Ltd. Picture: Gary Watt

The Save Our Post Office Crouch End Residents' Group has launched an official boycott of the new retail partner, Universal Office Equipment (UK) Ltd. Picture: Gary Watt

Archant

A plan to turn a post office into a franchise has sparked a boycott by angry supporters.

Campaigners speak to passersby outside Crouch End Post Office. Picture: Gary Watt Campaigners speak to passersby outside Crouch End Post Office. Picture: Gary Watt

On July 18 the Post Office announced its plan to spin off Crouch End Post Office and turn the Topsfield Parade business into a franchise with Universal Office Equipment (UOE) named as the preferred franchisee.

Ten days later The Save Our Post Office Crouch End Residents’ Group launched a boycott of UOE products and services fearing the change will lead to a downgraded service, loss of jobs and insecure future for branches cut adrift from government ownership.

Describing the move as “short-sighted” and “hugely unpopular”, local Communication Workers Union representative Clive Tickner said: “Residents are determined to stop the post office being ripped from the heart of the community.

“UOE want to squeeze a second-rate postal service into the back of the building. Make no mistake, we will not rest until the Post Office drop their disastrous plans.

“It’s a valuable asset and is relied upon by residents and businesses as well as people who collect their pensions and benefits. The staff have a wealth of experience between them which will be lost under the company’s plans,” he added.

But on behalf of both companies a Post Office spokeswoman said it was wrong to suggest services would be reduced saying customers will benefit from a seven day service.

She added the post office will remain as a main branch with all its current services and if the proposal is successful staff would be offered the option to transfer to the franchisee.

She commented: “We know the branch’s importance to the local economy and that’s why we’re taking action to ensure it’s sustainable into the future.

“The vast majority of branches, large and small, are operated on a franchise basis and the proposed franchisee for Crouch End already successfully operates some other main north London branches,” she added.

In a bid to ensure the network’s future, moves to franchise directly managed branches across the UK were begun in January last year – with 30 having undergone the change since.

As part of a six week consultation, a customer forum on Crouch End Post Office will be held on August 10 at Union Church Community Centre in Weston Park from 3.30 - 7.30pm.

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