Issue - meetings


Meeting: 28/02/2019 - Council (Item 67)

Notices of Motion



Gloucester City Council notes with concern that:


1.      On 11 October 2018 it was announced that 74crown post offices across the UK, including that in Gloucester, will be franchised to WHSmith. Taken together, successive franchise announcements mean the loss of 60% of the crown office network since 2013.


2.      These privatisations are financed using millions of pounds of public money, despite the fact that the public has never endorsed the closures, indeed they have only ever protested against them. In 2014/15 alone, £13 million of public money was used to pay compensation to get rid of post office staff,    and the CWU estimates the staff compensation cost of the latest privatisation will be at least £30 million, affecting as it does, 800 staff.


3.      Reports by Consumer Focus (2012) and Citizens Advice (2016) have identified issues with the franchising of post offices to WHSmith including poor accessibility for people with mobility impairments, longer queuing times, and inferior service and advice on products.


4.      Franchising means the loss of jobs with good terms and conditions at the Post Office. WHSmith replaces experienced post office staff with new employees on typically minimum wage part time roles. This is   clearly bad for jobs in the local area and the Post Office workers, many of whom are CWU members.          


5.      The closure of our Crown post offices and relocation to a WHSmith, also means the loss of prime high street stores and this contributes to the demise of our town centres. No explanation has been given as to why the profit-making Crown post offices are being handed to a failing retailer with an uncertain future, and what     will happen to these services if WHSmith folds.


6.    All Crown post offices are under threat of closure and/or franchising in future,and if the latest round of privatisations is allowed to go ahead, it could prove the tipping point for the viability of the entire post office network.


       This Council believes that;


7.    Our post offices are a key asset for the community and the expertise and experience of staff there is invaluable.


8.    The relentless franchising and closure programme of the profit-making Crown post Offices, points to a lack of vision rather than the plan for growth and innovation that is needed.


9.    Government should therefore halt these closures and bring together stakeholders, including the CWU, and industry experts to develop a new strategy that safeguards the future of the Post office.         


This council resolves to


10.  Write to Government to raise concern about the apparent managed decline of the post office network and the impact on high streets across the UK as well as the service in the franchised premises, and the poor-quality jobs that result.


11.  Calls on the Scrutiny Committee (OR EQUIV LOCAL SET UP), and (separately) the Leader of the Council to meet with WHSmith and the Post Office to urge a stop to the planned franchise.


12.  To join local campaigning to raise awareness  ...  view the full agenda text for item 67