‘This will be a battle’ warns MP over Post Office closure

OLDHAM West and Royton MP Jim McMahon has joined forces with parliamentary colleagues to fight the proposed closure of Oldham Town Centre Post Office.

Under plans recently announced the branch will re-locate with a smaller and reduced service to WH Smiths in the Spindles.

Now Mr McMahon, Debbie Abrahams, Oldham East and Saddleworth MP, and Angela Rayner, MP for Ashton, Droylsden and Failsworth, have teamed up with the Communication Workers Union to urge Post Office Limited to halt their planned closure.

Debbie Abrahmas MP, Angela Raynor MP and Jim McMahon MP

The MPs insist the move will lead to a reduced service, the loss of an institution on the high street and the transferring of jobs from a public employer to a private one.

On the latter, CWU are concerned this will impact on the wages and conditions of the workers involved.

The MPs feel the Post Office provides a vital service for people from across the town, and the closure is absolutely not in the public interest.

Mr McMahon said: “It’s a nonsense as anyone who uses the post office will tell you.

“It’s a busy branch and well used. There is no public interest in closing it, even if it will be relocated.

“I’ve challenged the ‘top brass’ to meet me at Oldham Post Office to discuss how stupid this idea really is.

“Stand by. This will be a battle but we must fight it to save Oldham Post Office.”

Mrs Abrahams added: “I have walked by this branch since 2011, as it’s just outside my office, and it is always busy.

“The Post Office need to rethink their proposal immediately.

“We want as may people as possible to sign our petition to stop the closure of our Post Office.”

The move of traditional Post Offices into branches of WH Smiths has been on-going for more than a decade with Ashton-under-Lyne making the switch back in 2007.

The announcement is part of a deal to relocate up to 40 Post Offices into WH Smith stores in 2019, and for WH Smith to take over the running on a franchise basis.

There will be a six-week public consultation on the proposal but it unclear as of yet when this will begin.

Post Office network and sales director Roger Gale said: “WH Smith and Post Office have worked together successfully for more than a decade and our collaboration helps to secure our services on high streets for years to come.

“We’re continuing to respond to unprecedented change on high streets and in consumer trends.

“By adapting to the needs of customers we’re making sure Post Offices will matter as much tomorrow as they do today, with services available when and where people want them, in convenient locations and open for longer hours, including Sundays.

“We’ve made significant changes in our network of 11,500 Post Offices over the past few years, modernising more than 7,500 branches and increasing opening hours for customers by more than 200,000 a week.

“We’ve also developed our services, including the introduction of everyday banking for customers of the UK’s high street banks.

“The vast majority of the Post Office’s network of 11,500 Post Office branches, large and small, are run on a franchise or agency basis with retailers as part of thriving businesses.

“It makes sense to further expand this successful, sustainable way of providing Post Office services to customers.”

To help save the Post Office from closure a petition has been launched with people asked to sign it online: www.change.org/p/post-office-limited-save-our-oldham-post-office

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