The UK post office network is under increasing strain with many subpostmasters effectively earning less than the National Minimum Wage and planning to close or hand on their business, according to a survey by The National Federation of Subpostmasters (NFSP) .
Speaking yesterday (15 April), at the NFSP’s annual conference, Calum Greenhow, Chief Executive of NFSP revealed the findings of a survey of 1,000 of its members, who have been subpostmasters for an average of 12 years.
The survey found:
- 76% are making less than the hourly National Minimum Wage from working in their post office
- 61% are taking home less income over time – and one in five subpostmasters, or their spouse or partner, had to take on work elsewhere to make ends meet
- One in three did not take a single day’s holiday last year
- 22% are planning to close, downsize or hand on their business in the next 12 months
Their biggest concerns are falling income and increased expenses, caused by a combination of reductions to remuneration rates; low transaction rates for banking services; increased staff costs; more customers using Royal Mail services directly; and fewer using a Post Office Card Account.
Mr Greenhow told the conference: “We can see how easy it would be for Subpostmasters to lose faith and feel disenfranchised, to feel the system is working against them. For many of you, your feet are going to do the talking”.
Mr Greenhow, who has himself been a subpostmaster for 23 years, told the conference that the NFSP’s members were ‘experienced, knowledgeable and committed’, managing a workforce of around 20,000 and providing an essential service to their communities.
He said the NFSP’s aim is to build a network of individually viable post offices, where the personal investment of the men and women who run them is recognised. He promised to fight to help them increase remuneration and challenge Post Office Ltd to secure a better deal.
He said to subpostmasters: “The social value of the post office network that you are part of is estimated to be as high as £9 billion. This is your collective worth to UK society. We intend to make sure that the government and MPs recognise the vital work carried out by the subpostmasters of this country…The NFSP has been in existence for over 120 years, placing the interests of its members first and we will continue to do that”.
The National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP) is a membership organisation, which represents the UK’s subpostmasters. It has more than 8,000 members who operate approximately 9,300 post office branches. It is the only organisation recognised by Post Office Ltd to act on behalf of subpostmasters.