The ‘Westminster Chronicle’ reports;
Residents have rallied against the possible closure of a post office which has become an integral part of the community over the past 60 years.
Lupus Street Crown Office was built for the people of Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, which opened in 1950.
The Post Office Group wants to merge the branch, which is still publicly owned, with others in Vauxhall Bridge Road and Eccleston Street ‘to drive up profitability’.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has organised a national half day strike at 2.30pm tomorrow (Fri 19) against possible job cuts.
At least 11 other major post offices around Westminster will be affected by the strike, including in Paddington Quay and St John’s Wood.
Westminster Labour group has launched a petition to save the Lupus Street branch.
Sue Walsh, chairwoman of Churchill Gardens Residents’ Association, said the post office is regularly used by the 1,700 households on the estate, including by elderly people who rely on its proximity.
She said: “The only other post office is in Ebury Street or Vauxhall Bridge Road, which is quite a way for our elderly residents to go and these branches are already really busy. We never see our post office empty. To say it’s underused is beyond belief.”
A spokeswoman for the CWU said: “The Post Office is calling it two into one mergers but that’s a straight closure of one of them.
“They’re saying there won’t be job losses but we just don’t believe them. They’ve been pretty underhanded dealing with us over the last year.”
The Post Office condemned the strike action, saying the union is in denial about the harsh realities of the offices losing £40million a year.
Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the group, said: “We want to keep Post Office branches on high streets across the UK. We are investing £70m in 300 Crown branches and are proposing to partner 70 branches with suitable retailers. These branches are not closing.”
Crown offices are large branches managed by the Post Office, in contrast to franchises within retailers such as WHSmith.
The Post Office said no final decision has been made, and a 12-week public consultation would take place before changes are made by April 2015. Strike action will affect 373 branches around the country – about three per cent of the 11,800 Post Office network.
Sign the petition here.