Royal Mail set to reject union plan and press on with mail centre closure

Royal Mail chiefs are set to reject a union plan to keep the East London Mail Centre open and forge on with plans to close it by next spring, according to MP Jim Fitzpatrick.

The MP for Poplar & Limehouse visited the centre in Twelvetrees Crescent, Bromley by Bow this morning to speak to Royal Mail directors about their intention to close it and move its east London processing work to a centre in Romford.

Royal Mail also plans to close its South London Mail Centre.

The Communication Workers Union put an alternative plan to the company last Tuesday to keep the Bromley-by-Bow centre, that has more than 700 workers, open and to review its future after next year’s Olympics.

John Ayres, the area’s CWU rep, argues that despite decline in mail volumes nationwide, the union would be able to demonstrate that east London is a growth area in light of its new E20 postcode, the Olympic Park developments and the Government’s introduction of a business Enterprise Zone.

Following his meeting, Mr Fitzpatrick, who was visiting with Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, said: “It was a very useful meeting but it has been clearly indicated that they [the Royal Mail] are not going to change their minds.

“The centre will close but they are confident that there will be no compulsory redundancies. “It is going to be painful, but east London MPs will want to make sure its as painless a process as possible and look after deliveries for residents in east London as well.”

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In response, the union will now ballot its members at the centre and three others in London, as well as the Rathbone Place delivery office, on May 6 over possible industrial action with the result to be announced on May 20.

The East London Advertiser has been told the Royal Mail will be making a comment this afternoon.

The company has argued that it has “significantly” more mail processing capacity in inner London than it needs.

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