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Melksham workers go on strike over plans to shut office
8:30am Friday 29th March 2013 in News
Staff at Melksham’s Post Office will go on strike on Saturday over plans to close it down. The Post Office has announced plans to close the Crown Office on Church Street and move the PO inside another shop in the town. The news has angered people in the town who say it will mean a poorer service. Terri Welch, town councillor and manager of the Tourist Information Centre, said: “We have a wonderful Post Office. It works well together with the TIC, and I support the strike if they are drawing attention to the matter. “I know the staff there and have spoken to them, and I am concerned if the service was franchised out we wouldn’t enjoy the standard of service we have come to expect.” Chris Roche, of the Communications Workers Unions said: “We hope this will bring the Post Office to the negotiating table, but if not there will be further action. Melksham is struggling in the current climate and if this post office was to close it would be a major blow to the local economy and to the services which many people rely on.” Seven CWU members at the Post Office in Church Street will be out on strike and joining in a protest outside from 10.30am to midday. Mr Roche said the strike will cause disruption but he believes people in the town will support the staff. “I think people in Melk-sham will recognise the benefit that a Crown Office brings to the town,” he said. Town crier Peter Dauncy said: “In all honesty it does disrupt everyone, but they are striking for a reason.” Mrs Welch added: “Being the end of the month I know the queues will be there for the car tax. It’s going to strike a lot of people quite strongly. “I would certainly support the workers, they are superb. They know their jobs, they have ongoing training, and a franchise wouldn’t offer that. “Every Saturday you see the stream of people rushing there and it is one of their busiest days.” The sorting office in the same building was moved to Chippenham last year. The strike is part of a series of walkouts across the country. Corsham Post Office is also affected. Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office said: “We are committed to keeping a Post Office branch on high streets such as Melksham. “The best way for us to do this is to partner with a retailer. This is not a closure plan, our aim is to find a suitable retailer from which the branch can operate.”
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