For the past few months local residents of Dagenham have been voicing their opinions and concerns over the fate of the Dagenham Heathway Post Office. Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham has received many letters, emails and phone calls on the issue. A public meeting has now been arranged and will take place at: Dagenham Village Community Hall, Vicarage Road, RM10 9SD on Thursday 18th July from 5.30pm onwards.

There are many rumours circulating that the Post Office are looking for a retail partner to take over the branch, privatising yet another public service. This could well mean an end to the exceptional service currently delivered by the staff, fewer services on offer and counter space would also be diminished.

In a recent report, postal watch dog Consumer Focus criticised the performance of Post Offices franchised to W H Smith. They were the worst performer on queue times, and scored badly on quality of service and accessibility. This is not the fate we want for our Post Office, which over the years has become a busy centre in the local community.

There has been much work and campaigning surrounding the Heathway Post Office with leafleting and a petition being raised. Now a public meeting has been organised. Jon will be attending the meeting along with representatives of the Communications Workers Union and local Ward Councillors to discuss with the public how best to fight the plans. The meeting is taking place at Dagenham Village Community Hall, Vicarage Road on Thursday 18th July from 5.30pm onwards.

Jon Cruddas MP: "This is an issue that will hit the heart of the community hard. Our Post Office is a well used busy centre, and I am urging as many residents as possible to attend the meeting to discuss the future of our local service. It will be a chance for people to make their voices heard, addressing the issue surrounding the privatisation of our local Post Office."

Bosses have previously stated that none of the 15 staff members' jobs would be at risk and I am currently seeking reassurances from the central Post Office regarding this. If jobs are secured it is imperative that we fight to make sure the staff are not subject to pay cuts and that working terms and conditions remain the same. We don't want to see a race to the bottom here with falling salaries, falling standards and diminished services – it is up to us as a community to ensure that we get the best deal possible for our local services and I will be doing all I can alongside the CWU and your local Councillors to keep privatisation at bay in the fight to save our Post Office.