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West End Extra - by TOM FOOT
Published: 4 May 2007

The threatened post office in Soho
Post office to leave Soho

Move to WH Smith is ‘ridiculous’

THE Post Office is planning to move its main office in Soho into WH Smith in Oxford Street.
It is among 70 Crown Post Office branches earmarked for closure under controversial plans union officials believe will see three thousand job losses.
Management chiefs admit Post Office staff will take a pay cut from £10 an hour to £6 if they are taken on by the newsagent chain. The Commercial Workers Union said it would ballot for national strike action.
Councillor Wilder said it was “ridiculous” not to have a post office in the West End.
He said: “I am very sorry to hear about it. It has been there for 100 years as far as I know. We need a post office in the heart of the West End and I don’t see how WH Smith can possibly do as good a job as the post office.”
Post Office Managing Director Alan Cook responded: “Our job is to provide the Post Office branches our customers want and use, and to do so in a sustainable way. The combination of Post Office Ltd and WH Smith makes perfect sense for customers – there are a lot of natural links between the products we sell.”
A Post Office Ltd spokesman said: “Staff may have the opportunity of applying for posts in WH Smiths, redeployment or voluntary redundancy. We do not anticipate any enforced redundancies.”
The Post Office say residents would not be consulted on the move – but their ideas would inform how the new service could be provided.
A CWU spokesman said: “Valuable public services and skilled staff are being lost to inexperienced retailers. WH Smith has no history of providing the sort of service the Post Office provides.”

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