UPDATE: Poplar MP questions Royal Mail decision to close east London mail centre

MP Jim Fitzpatrick and the Communication Workers Union have criticised the Royal Mail’s decision to close the east London mail centre, announced this week.

The MP for Poplar & Limehouse said he had been hopeful at the end of last year that the centre in Twelvetrees Crescent, Bromley-by-Bow, which has 628 staff, would remain open as it was one of the “newest” in London.

But the Royal Mail announced on Monday that it will close in 2012 along with a South London centre, leaving the Mount Pleasant centre in Farringdon as the only processing office in inner London.

Much of the east London processing duties will shift to a centre in Romford.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “A big positive was that it [the east London centre] produced such a great service.

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“Royal Mail will still be obliged to provide that service but it will be harder to do from Mount Pleasant and other centres.

“The last thing they want at such a competitive time is a detiorating service.”

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John Ayres, the CWU’s area distribution representative who has been told the Bromley-by-Bow centre will close next spring, predicted that 80 per cent of the workforce will not find new jobs within the company.

He said there will be a surplus of 1100 jobs in the London workforce because take-up of voluntary early retirement programmes has not met Royal Mail’s expectations.

He said: “There will undoubtedly be compulsory redundancies.

“I believe there will be industrial ballot action.”

But a Royal Mail spokesman said the company expected 751 jobs to be lost between the two closing centres and 200 jobs to be created in Romford.

He said he was certain there would not be compulsory redundancies.

Mr Ayres also questioned why the Royal Mail had chosen to keep the Mount Pleasant centre open.

He said: “It is a Dickensian centre that needs �38 million of investment to bring it up to the right level while you have a state-of-the-art centre already in east London.

“It sits at the heart of the community, next to Canary Wharf and in the shadow of the Olympic park.

“It doesn’t make sense.”

Mr Fitzpatrick said he was seeking further clarification on the criteria by which the company arrived at its decision.

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