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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Royal Mail 'ignoring' concerns over possible closure of Cumbrian sorting office

A Maryport man says Royal Mail is ignoring residents’ concerns about the possible closure of the town’s sorting office.

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Protest: Mark Hayhurst objected to the closure

Plans are being considered to shut the sorting office, forcing people to travel to Workington to pick up undelivered mail and parcels.

If the proposal goes ahead, 23 workers would be transferred from the Solway Industrial Trading Estate depot to an expanded unit at Workington’s Derwent Howe.

Mark Hayhurst, who wrote to Royal Mail, said: “Royal Mail says that closure is a business decision, so, although staff and unions are being consulted, such moves are not subject to public consultation.

“They say that no decision has been made, yet at the same time talk about notifying those affected in the event of closure.

“Anyone could be forgiven for believing that decisions have all but been taken and that customers’ views and needs are subsidiary to Royal Mail’s centralisation.

“To my mind, Royal Mail’s response is rather indifferent to the needs of those who would have to travel to Workington to collect undelivered mail such as parcels or signed-for items if the Maryport office closes.

“Many organisations go out of their way to involve the public in decisions affecting their customers, not least in the case of providers of public services. Maryport residents are rightly concerned at a proposal which could be seen as marginalising their town.”

Royal Mail said no decision has been made.

Spokeswoman Felicity MacFarlane said that declining letter numbers and increasing parcel volumes meant the company needed to constantly review how it managed its operations.

She added: “As part of our business-wide transformation, we are undertaking one of the biggest modernisation programmes in UK industry.

“The consolidation of our delivery operations is a commercial decision and will play a major part in placing the business on a stable footing for the future.”

A decision is likely to be made later this year.

Ms McFarlane said there would be no public consultation as it was a commercial decision.

But, she added, it will carry out a study and have discussions with unions that represent workers at the site.

Maryport mayor Peter Kendall said the Royal Mail’s proposal to move the sorting office was “complete nonsense”.

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