A public meeting was held at Village Community hall with the Communication Workers Union (CWU), Local Councillors, representatives of the Post Office and Jon Cruddas MP to discuss the proposed privatisation of the Dagenham Heathway Crown Post Office.
The Post Office recently made public plans to look for a retail partner to take over the branch to make the service profitable.
Jon Cruddas MP has been inundated with local concerns about the future of the Dagenham Heathway Post Office, and many residents attended the event to express their views and opinions.
Doubts were raised about the functionality of a smaller Post Office based within a retail arguments suggest that such a service would struggle to match the current level of service delivered by the Dagenham Heathway Crown Post Office. Constituents felt that the service would be compromised with shorter opening hours, reduced terms and conditions for Post Office workers, a reduced quality of service and a damning effect on the Heathway shopping district.
Ian Wall, from the CWU, said that study after study had shown that franchised post offices perform badly in respect of queue times, quality of service and accessibility.
Cllr Lee Waker is a postal worker himself, and argued that privatisation of the local Post Office will have a negative effect on both the current workers and the public. Cllr Waker made a point of saying that this is something to avoid at all costs. It was also suggested that central Post Office management should be doing more to safeguard local services.
Residents were extremely vocal throughout the meeting and raised the issue that the Dagenham Heathway Post Office is the only place where they can access essential services.
Representatives of the Post Office have stated that a partner has not yet come forward and if one is found there will be further public consultation.
Jon said: “The Dagenham Heathway Crown Post Office is vital to so many people. I am glad we had this meeting and so many members of the public attended. When I walk past the post office I regularly see people queuing around the block and I know that the staff are doing an amazing job, making the Post Office a real anchor in the local community.
“What I don’t want to see is a race to the bottom for staff terms and conditions, diminished services for the public and yet another disappointment for the Heathway shopping district. It was encouraging to see the CWU, residents and councillors joining together and taking the fight to the top, making local voices heard! Further public consultation has been promised by the Post Office and I will do all I can to hold them to this.”