Yesterday, I met with managers from Post Office Ltd along with Lib Dem PPC James Flanagan, Labour PPC Hugh Lanning, Julie Wassmer, Chris Stone, Ind Cllr Phil Cartwright and Mary-Jane Higginson.
We spoke at length about the flawed concept of franchising Whitstable's Crown Post Office. The franchise is being driven through to make cuts not just to the cost of the premises but to staff too.
The Post Office nearly handed the franchise to Budgens last month despite not knowing that the shop was in difficulty. If the shop closed, what then for the Post Office branch at the back of the shop floor. The PO claim they will parachute a contingency in, but perhaps they should avoid the problem from the outset.
The PO are clearly not looking very hard at what they are doing. I had assumed their refusal to tell me how many jobs will go was belligerence but it may simply be that they haven't worked it out, after all they seem to be failing to scrutinse their plans properly.
It became clear to me that the only thing that they were interested in was the bottom line - hardly surprising given the austerity measures of the Lib / Con government and that they are a private company not a publicly run service.
They are looking for a new franchisee and they claim to be talking to another business. We have to fight the concept of franchising and the best way is for businesses to stand together to say no to taking on the PO service.