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Union to stage nationwide protests in support of Post Offices

The CWU is against plans to franchise branches to WH Smith.

Protests will be held across the country on Saturday in support of Post Offices and against plans to franchise scores of branches to retailer WH Smith.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said it will stage demonstrations at almost 50 locations, supported by Labour politicians and local campaigners.

The union is also gathering names for a petition it hopes will lead to the future of Post Offices being debated in Parliament.

People are sick and tired of the broken privatisation agenda Dave Ward, CWU

The union says that when Crown offices – larger branches usually sited on high streets – close, many staff leave the service, and jobs advertised by firms such as WH Smith offer lower wages than those paid by the Post Office.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “The day of action is an ambitious one. We are holding dozens of events from Truro to Aberdeen, in every region of the United Kingdom, to engage with members of the public about this latest shameful round of planned closures.

“People are sick and tired of the broken privatisation agenda that is behind this latest move. We hope many will join our campaign to save our Post Offices.”

Roger Gale, the Post Office’s network & sales director, said: “The Post Office has over 11,500 branches across the UK. It will be business as usual in all our branches and we hope the CWU will ensure that there is no impact on customer service.

“The Post Office is committed to keeping its vital services on high streets and at the heart of communities across the UK. However, we are not immune to the challenges facing retailers in local high streets, and we must adapt to changing customer needs by making our services more accessible to customers, for instance through longer opening hours.

“That is why we are proposing to franchise a further 74 directly managed branches to WH Smith.

“The plan enables us to maintain branches in town and city centres in a way that’s financially sustainable, not just for today’s customers but tomorrow’s too. 98% of the Post Office network is run in this way, on an agency or franchise basis. It’s a model that works through delivering the benefits of shared overheads and footfall.”

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