OLDHAM MPs have met with a representative of the Post Office to discuss the planned closure of its town centre facility.

The meeting was part of a campaign led Debbie Abrahams, Angela Rayner and Jim McMahon.

MPs highlighted issues relating to access to the site at WH Smith for elderly and disabled customers as well as the potential for workers’ rights to be downgraded.

Post Office Ltd has admitted that the Oldham branch is “a busy branch from the point of view of customer visits”, but their answer is that the proposed new site at WH Smith is large enough to accommodate this demand.

This is despite admitting that some services will not carry over, and employee’s rights are at risk, the MPs say.

Post Office confirmed that if the closure goes ahead most services currently offered through the branch will transfer over to the new location. However the ATM at the site will be lost and the UK Visa and Immigration Biometric Enrolment Service will not continue either.

The rights of branch employees also remain uncertain, with Post Office confirming:

“We absolutely recognise that this is an uncertain and difficult time for our colleagues that work at the branch and we will be providing them with all the information they require around their options and offering any support they need once the branch starts its period of public consultation.”

A written Parliamentary question from the three MPs has been sent to the Postal Service Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP demanding an explanation from her as to why the closures are going ahead.

Post Office is working towards a consultation starting from January onwards.

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Ms Abrahams said: “Our post office is a vital community asset to the people of Oldham and it shouldn’t be downgraded and hived off to prop up a struggling private sector retailer.

“There has been no effort at consulting local people about this move by either Post Office Ltd or the Government and it’s no wonder when Consumer Focus and Citizen’s Advice have reported longer queues, inferior service and poor disabled access when Crown offices are transferred to WHSmith.

“There are many unanswered questions such as how much money has been earmarked for payments to staff in this round of privatisations and what financial oversight does the Government maintain over the use of public money by Post Office Ltd to run the post office network?”

Oldham West and Royton MP Mr McMahon said: “Post Office have proven that they do not have the interests of local customers and employees at heart.

“They appear incapable of understanding that the loss of our Post Office is damaging on so many levels. We lose an institution from the high street; employees risk having their pay and conditions trampled on by a second-rate employer; and all we get in return is a poor imitation of a proper service, which for years has been valued on the high street.”