‘Expect strikes’ if you close sorting office

John Bercow
John Bercow

PRINCES Risborough postmen have threatened to strike if plans to move their sorting office to Aylesbury are rubber-stamped.

During a packed public meeting around 200 residents showed their sympathy with the posties’ plight, by pledging to board coaches to London and protest outside the Royal Mail’s headquarters.

The protest has the backing of Vale MP John Bercow who dubbed plans to merge the Bell Street sorting office with the one in Aylesbury’s Triangle Business Park ‘a disgrace’.

Last week in Princes Risborough, Royal Mail spokesman Gary Burgess told the public meeting that the change was designed to save money.

But union representative Andy Ball blasted the plans, calling the Aylesbury office ‘cramped already’ and saying it could not cope with the extra mail.

Under the plans, mail which is not delivered in Princes Risborough will be driven back to Aylesbury.

The next day it will be taken back to Princes Risborough’s post office in Lloyds pharmacy, where it can be collected.

During the meeting some residents claimed the post office would struggle to cope.

Mr Ball claims that surcharged items, where the full postage has not been paid, will still need to be collected from Aylesbury.

He estimates the Princes Risborough sorting office deal with 40-50 such items a day.

Royal Mail claimed an average of 270 items are returned to the sorting office each week, which need to be collected or re-delivered.

The current 2,500 sq ft sorting office in Bell Street is believed to have been sold by Royal Mail for over £500,000.

It is currently being leased and is due to close in the summer. During the meeting Mr Ball put forward £80,000 plans to move the current sorting office to a new location at Regent’s Park in Princes Risborough.

But Royal Mail’s Steve Pallster claimed it would be too small, did not have enough parking spaces and would cost too much to make secure.

In response Mr Ball claimed the Aylesbury site only has 37 car parking for the 115 people who work there. He warned that future strike action could not be ruled out.

John Bercow MP criticised the Royal Mail representatives, saying: “You have not demonstrated, because of the absence of any figures, that this is the most financially sensible way to proceed.” He said their presentation would be graded ‘unclassified’ by a university which ‘would not suffice’.

A show of hands at the meeting indicated that residents would travel to London to protest about the closure.