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Local post offices fear for futures

PUBLISHED: 17:07 29 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:36 30 June 2010

POST office owners across the borough are fearing for their futures after national talks broke down over pay rates.

The talks were over the pay of subpostmasters, who run post offices privately but still receive funding from Post Office Ltd, and follow on from increased outside competition and complaints that wages were dropping.

POST office owners across the borough are fearing for their futures after national talks broke down over pay rates.

The talks were over the pay of subpostmasters, who run post offices privately but still receive funding from Post Office Ltd, and follow on from increased outside competition and complaints that wages were dropping.

The situation has led to The National Federation of Subpostmasters, involved with the talks, saying a 'totally unacceptable' pay cut was being imposed on post offices that could leave around a third of the 11,500 businesses in danger of collapse.

Nigel Law runs the Acle Post office with his wife Brenda and says the news has left him feeling “bleak” about the future.

Mr Law, 56, said: “I'm gutted but I am not in the least bit surprised- the industry has been bullied and beaten for the last few years.”

Having run the post office for more than six years, Mr Law commented that costs for utilities had increased, while the money they could take from sales had been reduced.

He added that, because of such pressures, their pay had declined by 5pc in the first quarter of this year, leaving them having to refocus the business to survive.

Mr Law said: “Whereas before this was a post office first and foremost, now we are having to sell things like chicken feed- because of how bleak the future looks, we're working hard to make that side of the business bigger.”

Secretary for the Norwich and Distract branch of the Federation, John Smith, explained around 150 post offices in his district, which includes Great Yarmouth, were run by subpostmasters.

He said that those he represented felt “badly let down”, adding that there was “general dismay” that others within different sectors of Post Office ltd had pay increases when subpostmasters had not.

“We had the reorganisation a few years ago, which cut post office numbers but was supposed to make things better.

“As it is, it is starting to feel like attrition, as post offices fight to survive with business ebbing away.”


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