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Sudbury Post Office under threat of franchise changes

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Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Sudbury Post Office could be one of a number of post offices in the country to be franchised.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is fighting plans by Post Office Ltd to close more Crown offices, which it feels would impact up to 1,000 jobs and condemn the service “to decline”.

The Post Office in Sudbury is joined by offices in Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe and 39 other branches nationwide which are being looked at with a view to being franchised.

The Post Office said the changes are part of the “continuing modernisation of its network, to adapt to customers’ changing needs”.

Across its overall network, the company has transformed around 5,000 branches over the past three years, and says franchised Post Offices are often able to open longer hours and for additional days.

Roger Gale, Post Office’s general manager of the Crown network, said: “We need to continue to make changes to strengthen the Crown network. We are seeking suitable potential retail partners to work with us on providing franchised services and we are proposing to close three branches in areas where it is no longer viable to keep a Crown branch.

“Losses in Crown post office branches have been reduced from £46million a year in 2011/12 and this part of the network is now breaking even. But with high property costs and restricted growth opportunities in some locations, some Crown branches will not be able to make money.

“We cannot look to the taxpayer to subsidise Crown branches that lose money.”

Under the banner ‘Protect the People’s Post Office,’ the CWU has said it will campaign against the proposal.

The union said the announcement confirmed that the Government was attempting to privatise the Post Office.

CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey said: “This is devastating news for our members. It is death by a thousand cuts.”

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