The return to profitability by the Post Office has been underpinned by ‘slash and burn’ polices which have diminished the organisation, Unite said today (Wednesday December 20).
Unite, which has about 700 members in Post Office managerial roles, said there needed to be greater transparency as to how the return to profitability, for the first time in 16 years, was achieved
“We believe that the Post Office lacks a coherent strategy for the future and that much of its ‘success’ has been achieved through a ‘slash and burn’ approach to jobs and the diminution in the quality of customer experience,” said Unite officer for the Post Office Brian Scott
The government today announced £370m of funding to secure the future of the UK’s Post Office network.
“Unite welcomes the government funding for the Post Office and also the fact that it has made a profit,” added Scott. “However, the union calls for greater clarity on how this profit has been achieved.
“When the Post Office publishes its annual report and accounts, which are very much delayed, Unite will closely examine whether the profit is really that or if it has been achieved through the Post Office having lower pay rates and inferior conditions of employment for those working in poorer quality franchised offices.
“We will also question whether this profit has been arrived at by the Post Office walking away from its obligations to its employees’ pension arrangements or if the government funding is really a subsidy to the ‘big’ banks to abrogate their responsibilities to local customers.
“We will examine closely how the profit is arrived at or if it is just ‘clever’ accounting.
“Post offices have been franchised and their relevance in the high street is being undermined and this depressing trend has to be challenged. Without a real purpose, they will only fall into further managed decline.
“Communities and small businesses need their local post office, so Unite supports this investment, but there needs to be a full review of the strategy for the future.
“This includes the establishment of a PostBank from which the Post Office, communities and businesses will benefit. This business model has brought benefits in other countries across the globe.
“Without a PostBank, the Post Office has a limited shelf life and this great institution cannot be allowed to wither and die.
“Unite members have invested their faith and careers in the Post Office and deserve to work for an organisation that has a clear strategy, providing growth and job security, as well as excellent customer service and good quality, well paid jobs.”