Post office workers to march against Stevenage closure

POST office workers across Comet country will march later this month to protest against Royal Mail’s proposed closure of Stevenage Mail Centre.

The march, set to take place in Stevenage on Saturday, October 30, comes as a result of a Royal Mail review announced last month, in which Hitchin’s sorting and distribution office will close and all mail processing work will move from Stevenage to Hemel Hempstead.

The vacated Stevenage mail centre site on London Road is then set to house Hitchin and Welwyn Garden City delivery operations.

The delivery office at Letchworth GC will remain open under the proposals.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which is behind the march, has also set up a petition to oppose the move.

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Paul Turnbull, CWU area processing rep, said: “It’s a 50 mile round trip for workers travelling from Stevenage to Hemel Hempstead and it’s not reasonable for people to travel that far.

“These jobs are likely to be filled by those living more locally in the future so it will result in substantial job losses for the area.

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“Royal Mail say the changes will be more environmentally friendly but they are not taking into account the travelling by the staff and post may have to go up to Hemel Hempstead to be sorted before coming back to Stevenage.

“This is a public-owned company but it’s managed like a competitive business - this move will not improve anything for the staff or the public.”

Leader of Stevenage Borough Council Sharon Taylor will be supporting the protest, which will finish in Stevenage Town Square.

She said: “It will be sad to lose any jobs for Stevenage but particularly those at the mail centre as a lot of them have worked in the area for many years.

“I understand that some are going to Hemel Hempstead but that’s a long way for people to travel from Stevenage. Our wish would be that the jobs stay here.

“We appreciate that organisations need to modernise but I think people should still have a mail centre in Stevenage.”

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: “This operational review has been undertaken on the basis of a national agreement reached earlier this year between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union, endorsed by postmen and women in a national ballot.

“As part of this agreement we will spend the next three months consulting further with the trade union to establish the detail of how the planned changes would happen and to enable them to put forward any further options for Royal Mail to evaluate.”

The final decision for the proposals is expected to be taken by Royal Mail in November.

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