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Keighley post office to move into WH Smith
Keighley’s main post office is set to move to the town’s WH Smith store.
Campaigners have battled for months to keep provision at the current Towngate site.
But Post Office bosses revealed this week that the branch could relocate within three months.
Union bosses said the decision was a “disaster” for Keighley and they have vowed to continue their fight.
The proposal to resite within WH Smith, in the Airedale Shopping Centre, has been opened up to public consultation.
Post Office Ltd said the new facility would include six serving positions – a mixture of screened and open plan – and would offer the same range of services. Opening hours would be 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 3pm on Sundays.
Roger Gale, the company’s crown network general manager, said: “We are committed to keeping a post office branch in Keighley and to maintaining the same levels of service for our customers.
“We believe the best way for us to do this is to change the way we operate it, so if the move goes ahead it will be run by WH Smith High Street Ltd rather than by us directly.”
He added that there would be no compulsory redundancies due to the move.
“We will be working closely with branch colleagues to ensure their needs are met – whether that is a transfer to the new employer or redeployment in the Post Office,” he said.
“All staff have the legal right to transfer to the potential new operator if they wish.”
Customers and other interested parties are being invited to give their comments on the proposals, and a public forum will be held in the New Year.
The consultation will run until February 3, and the move could take place in March or April.
Comments can be submitted via an online questionnaire at postofficeviews.co.uk, by FREEPOST Your Comments to Post Office Ltd, via e-mail email@example.com, a customer helpline on 08457 22 33 44 or textphone 08457 22 33 55. People are asked to quote branch code 010306 in all communication.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) opposes the move, claiming the franchising of the main post office would lead to a vastly inferior service.
David Bowmaker, territorial representative for the CWU, said: “The news this week has come as a real blow to our members.
“And despite what the Post Office says, the public will not get the same service. There will be fewer people serving at counter positions when there is most customer demand.
“We will fight this to the end.”
WH Smith has operated post offices within its stores since 2007 and currently runs over 80 branches.
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