East London mail centre to close under Royal Mail plans

The East London mail centre in Bromley-by-Bow is to close following an announcement by the Royal Mail last night.

As part of their modernisation plans, the company said a phased closure of the centre in Twelve Trees Crescent, and another mail centre in south London, will commence immediately.

Both centres are expected to close this year, though the Royal Mail said the Bromley-by-Bow centre would close six months later than had been originally anticipated following negotiations with the Communication Workers Union.

Following a consultation with the union since last June, the move will mean 751 jobs going across the capital with five centres remaining and anticipated annual savings to the company of �30 million per year.

The Royal Mail announced at the same time that it is seeking to reduce the number of line managers across the country by up to 1,000 through voluntary means.

Throughout the consultation on the London centres, the Royal Mail has argued that the changes were necessary to account for a decline in number of postal items being sent in the capital, which is expected to more than halve between 2006 and 2014.

Mark Higson, their managing director of operations and modernisation, said: “We are conscious of the impact this announcement will have on our staff in London.

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“It is hard to reduce job numbers at any time; we are committed to doing everything we can, in line with our agreement with the union, to make these changes on a voluntary basis.

“We will be providing specialist outplacement advice to help our people affected by this announcement to look for new opportunities outside Royal Mail.”

Speaking to the East London Advertiser last October, Jim Fitzpatrick, the MP for Poplar & Limehouse, opposed the closure and said moving sorting functions away from east London would make deliveries less efficient.

He said: “When you consider the building has been open for less than 10 years and I’m told the price per item to process mail there is lower than any other centre in London, it seems a nonsense that the Royal Mail would opt for closure.”

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