Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has taken the campaign to save East Kilbride’s Crown Post Office to the Scottish Parliament in a Members’ Debate following a motion lodged by Jamie Hepburn MSP and co-signed by Linda. The Post Office Limited are currently considering closing Crown Post Offices in East Kilbride, Cumbernauld, Alloa, Perth and Stornoway and moving them into franchised retail outlets.
“The Debate, which was attended by members of the Communications Workers Union, showed the strength of feeling there is towards retaining the Crown Post Offices in these five towns.
“Clearly any changes would impact on Crown Post Office staff. East Kilbride Crown Post Office has 14 members of staff, covering approximately eight positions, with a combined experience of 280 years of service. Their expertise is often sought by smaller franchised branches throughout the town. There may be options for them to transfer to the franchised Post Offices or be re-deployed to other Crown Post Office in Glasgow or Motherwell perhaps. However, it would be a great loss to Scotland’s largest town to lose such valuable, experienced and well-trained staff.
“Anyone who uses the East Kilbride Crown Post Office knows that it is always busy, yet despite that, customers are dealt with quickly and efficiently due to the quality of the staff. A Consumer Focus report has reported that Crown Offices that move to franchises tend to perform worse in terms of queue times, quality of service and accessibility. It is simply not acceptable for a town the size of East Kilbride to have a diminished Post Office Service. Many franchisees do very well and give excellent service, but I contend that in a city or large town the franchise outlets should be complementary to the Crown Post Office and not a replacement to it.
“There seems to be substantial doubt about the figures claiming the amount of money the Crown Post Office are losing, ranging from £70m to £40m. When dealing with such an important issue that affects communities so profoundly, one would hope the UK Government would be able to produce more robust evidence to support their proposals. Nor should the expertise gained by Crown Post Office Staff, accumulated over a long period be cast aside so lightly. East Kilbride deserves more. The workers in our Crown Post Offices most certainly deserve more. The emerging reality is that no one will truly benefit from the plans—they are simply the next stage in the ideologically driven privatisation of the postal service.
“There are plans to hold a public meeting in East Kilbride over the future of our Crown Post Office. I will certainly be in attendance as this is an issue that really matters to me and I am sure I will see many residents also in attendance. I would encourage people in the meantime to continue to support our Crown Post Office workers and to sign their online petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/46277”
That the Parliament condemns proposals by Post Office Limited to close five Crown post offices in Cumbernauld, East Kilbride, Stornoway, Perth and Alloa, moving them to become franchises in retail outlets at alternative locations; regards this as potentially dismantling part of the established post office network, which may result in a loss of service for the public; is concerned for the continued employment of post office staff and considers that the proposal will have a damaging effect on the already fragile health of town centres and high streets; praises the existing Crown post office network in Scotland for an invaluable service to the community, and acknowledges calls for these proposals to be dropped.
Picture is of Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride Crown Post Office Staff and Communication Workers Union Representative