Private operator to run Post Office in High Street

February 05 2020

The Post Office in High Street, Keynsham, is being franchised

The Post Office in High Street, Keynsham, is being franchised

THE Post Office in Keynsham’s High Street is set to be run by a private operator.
Bosses say the change is needed to safeguard services in the town centre.
But a union has attacked the decision, arguing that it puts the future of the branch and its staff at risk.
The branch will be run by ZCO Ltd on a franchise basis from April. It will stay at its current site and maintain its current opening hours.
Steve Blampied, Head of the Directly Managed Network for Post Office, said: “We are making this change in order to maintain Post Office services in the centre of Keynsham.
“There are unprecedented changes on our high streets, and the needs of our customers are evolving, too.
“Our priority is to provide secure and commercially sustainable services in Keynsham, continuing to meet our customers’ needs now and into the future.
“The vast majority of our 11,500 Post Office branches, large and small, are already successfully operated by independent franchisees.”
But the Communication Workers Union, which represents staff at the branch, says the decision puts services and seven local jobs in jeopardy.
Chris Roche, CWU representative, said: “Keynsham Crown Post Office is an essential part of the local economy. It’s a valuable asset to the town and is relied upon by local residents and businesses, as well as people who collect their pensions and benefits.
“The staff in Keynsham are well-trained and have a wealth of experience between them which could be lost under the company’s plans to franchise this office to ZCO Ltd.”
The CWU is concerned about the long-term viability of the branch, as its future will now depend on the fortunes of an independent retailer.
The union accuses ZCO Ltd of operating on low wages and low employment standards.
Mr Roche said: “This town will lose highly skilled, unionised and well-rewarded jobs in exchange for minimum-wage-paying, insecure jobs.”
Although the commercial decision to change the way the branch is operated has been taken, the Post Office says it welcomes feedback and comments on any issues that customers would like considered as plans are finalised.
 People can share their views on the proposed change through an online questionnaire at postofficeviews.co.uk with the branch code 010511. The deadline is February 12.
Meanwhile, the CWU is campaigning against the franchising of Post Offices throughout the country and has set up
an online petition at it at
www.saveourpostoffice.co.uk.
The Keynsham branch is open 9am-5.30pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9.30am-5.30pm on Tuesday, and 9am-12.30pm on Saturdays. From April, the hours will be the same apart from Tuesday, when it will open 30 minutes earlier at 9am.