McColl retailer collapse proves risk of franchising Crown Post Offices, says CWU

Postal, Post Office (PO)

Today’s shock news that a convenience store chain has gone into administration is a terrible blow to hard-working shop staff and provides yet more evidence that the Post Office’s ‘retail partnership’ model is deeply flawed…

“This is awful news for some 16,000 workers and their families – but also it shows how vulnerable essential Post Office services are when they are handed over to private retail chains. In McColl’s alone, for example, there are around 600 post offices – 5 per cent of all UK post offices,” said CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey this afternoon.

McColl’s, which runs approximately 1,400 small to medium-sized general stores in the UK, made the announcement this morning.

Commenting on the development, Andy told CWU News: “Retail chains are notorious for market volatility and insecure employment. And, of course, our first thoughts are for all the workers whose job and livelihoods are at risk and we can only hope that their jobs can be saved.

“But the broader point that needs to be made here is that making a vital public service such as a post office dependent on these retail chains makes the service extremely vulnerable. There have been far too many instances of Crown offices being closed and their work being transferred to retail chains over the past decade or so and this must stop and needs to be reversed.

“Our nation’s Crown Post Office network must be defended, preserved, and returned to its status of 15 years ago, when we could say that there was at least one Crown in every town.

“Surely Post Office leaders must now realise that their franchising strategy is deeply flawed and puts this essential public service at serious risk,” Andy insisted, adding: “No to franchising – restore our Crown network.”