West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has received correspondence from the Post Office, WHSmith and the Department for Business as they seek to assure her of the continuation of existing opening hours and protection of staff terms and conditions.
Responding to Rosie Cooper MP, the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility Kelly Tolhurst MP said:
“When a branch is franchised, Post Office staff will have the opportunity to transfer to the new franchise under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE), be redeployed elsewhere in the business, or leave with compensation.”
The TUPE regulations ensure any staff who wishes to remain employed at the branch can do so with no change to their working hours or entitlements.
MP Rosie further asked the Minister through a Parliamentary Question about the safeguards in place to ensure that there is no reduction in operating hours.
The Minister replied: “When the Post Office franchises a branch to a new partner, they always ensure that the opening hours are at least equal to those in the existing branch. This agreement on hours is formalised in the Post Office’s contract with the partner.”
Rosie Cooper MP said:
“Residents and customers are rightly worried by what seems to be an increasingly privatised and watered down Post Office service. Unions have also contacted me concerned for their staff’s futures.
“Our Post Office is owned by the taxpayers and the franchising of our branches to private operators risks losing control over the quality of service, the treatment of staff and the hours of business.
“That is why I have sought these assurances from the Post Office, WHSmith and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ensure that there will be no reduction in branch opening hours or staff pay and conditions.
“I will continue to work with the Unions to monitor the franchising when it goes ahead to ensure these promises are kept to and urge staff and customers to get in touch should they be concerned by any changes.”