This is the second in a series of three updates on the closure of the Royal Mail Sorting Office at 130 Cubie Street, Glasgow, G40 2AF and subsequent relocation to Glasgow South East Delivery Office, 14 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow, G32 8FA. Part 1: ‘Introduction’ is here. Part 3: ‘Proposed Changes’ is here.
The Story So Far
As reported earlier this month, Royal Mail is proposing the closure of Cubie Street sorting office in January 2013 with a transfer of services to a facility in Cambuslang.
Dismayed at Royal Mail’s lack of engagement and communication about the move, and concerned about the impact this move will have on the local residents and businesses that they represent, representatives from Bridgeton & Dalmarnock, Calton, and Dennistoun community councils have come together to form the SOSO (save our sorting office) campaign.
The campaign has received the support of local elected representatives from the G31 and G40 postcode areas in the East End of Glasgow.
Royal Mail Response
In response to our enquiries about the proposed closure of the Cubie Street sorting office, Dennistoun Community Council received the following letter, dated 6th November 2012, from Royal Mail’s Director of Communications for Scotland and the North:
I am writing to update you on Royal Mail’s relocation of the G31/G40 Delivery Office into brand new premises as part of its ongoing modernisation and transformation programme in the Glasgow area.
The Delivery Office, which serves the customers in the G31/G40 postcode areas is currently located at 130 Cubie Street, Glasgow, G40 2AF. From the end of January, it will relocate to a brand new world class office at 14 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow, G32 8FA. This office will be known as the South East Delivery Office, Glasgow.
When we propose any changes to our delivery operations, we discuss these first with our trade unions, the CWU and Unite/CMA as well as holding internal discussions with our people, who work in the office. We also look at local transport links and other factors. We anticipate that all 60 staff in the office will relocate to the new office.
As part of our process, we also communicate with all the affected customers and stakeholders in the four weeks before the move, when every customer will receive a leaflet through their door, explaining the charges and setting out opening times and location of the new office. Posters will also be displayed at G31/G40 Delivery Office informing customers of the move. We believe there are transport links to allow customers to travel to the new office.
This relocation is a commercial decision to move to the new world class operational facility. It is part of Royal Mail’s UK-wide transformation and modernisation programme as the business faces a dramatic decline in traditional letter mail, a continuing rise in parcels and tough trading conditions.
It allows Royal Mail to take advantage of brand new, modern facilities at the Glasgow South East Delivery Office. As part of our business-wide investment and modernisation programme, Royal Mail is investing in new technology and equipment and upgraded operational facilities to ensure we have world class facilities which provide the most efficient and effective network for delivering the post. Royal Mail constantly reviews the operational efficiency and commercial practicality of all its units across the UK.
This move is part of a £1 million investment plan for our operations in the Glasgow area and is part of our continuous drive to deliver and improve our service to customers. It is also our intention to sell the building at Cubie Street.
All mail deliveries to households and businesses in the area will continue as normal.If customers are out, they have the option to have mail re-delivered to their address or another address in the same postcode on a more convenient day. We will also be using our delivery to neighbour scheme where this works for our customers. Full details can be found at www.royalmail.com/redelivery.
For those who choose to travel to the new delivery office to pick up mail there will also be extended opening hours.
Royal Mail is happy to attend meetings with stakeholders in the future on this issue and if meeting dates are set it would be helpful if they are shared with us.
If you require further information on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me. We will also write to you again nearer the time outlining new office opening times etc.
A public meeting held at Bridgeton Community Learning Campus on Saturday 17th November 2012 was attended by about 50 people, with a significant percentage of local elected representatives among them. Royal Mail sent a team of three representatives, including the Director of Communications for Scotland and the North.
At the start of the meeting it was highlighted that, in the past couple of weeks, the SOSO campaign had secured almost 2,000 signatures objecting to the proposed closure of Cubie St sorting office, with petition sheets still circulating in local shops and community facilities and an open online petition also. It was noted that a full collection of signatures would be presented to Royal Mail by mid-December.
Representatives from Bridgeton & Dalmarnock, Calton, and Dennistoun community councils, who’d united for the SOSO campaign, each provided some insight into the problems for the community if Cubie Street were to be closed and the collection service withdrawn. These included:
- Inaccessibility of the new facilities via public transport (20 mins from nearest bus stop);
- Unsuitability of the offered alternatives either via poverty (no internet access), not acting as advertised (phone redelivery) or the cheek of charging £1.50 for redelivery to local post office after withdrawing a local service;
- The affected area being one of the most deprived in Britain, with a significant elderly population;
- The lack of consultation with the people affected by the change;
- Prioritising profits over service;
- Health and safety issues regarding the public accessing the new facility; and
- The 64 bus route that stops a mile away from the new facility being a service under threat.
Royal Mail agreed to discuss the public transport situation with SPT, but otherwise minimised concerns and reiterated alternatives available already pointed out as unsuitable for a significant amount of people. They noted a brief to make Royal Mail a company fit to sell off, and are lagging behind their competitors. Parcel business has greatly increased while letter post has proportionally diminished, and Royal Mail’s national modernisation programme takes this into account. Cubie Street is currently unfit for purpose. They are not obliged to consult, so they didn’t bother. They repeatedly claimed the new facility provides a better service to the public as it has longer opening hours, either not taking on board or not caring about inaccessibility and the unsuitability of most alternatives for the Bridgeton/Calton/Dalmarnock/Dennistoun area.
Various members of the public and the gathered elected representatives made several further comments, with broad cross-party agreement. Royal Mail were roundly castigated for not bothering to consult with people, regeneration organisations or elected officials. It was suggested that Cubie Street could remain open to provide a collection service only, but Royal Mail didn’t consider this cost effective. The figures given for individuals collecting parcels from Cubie Street over the past week, an average of 100 per day, appeared extremely low and were immediately challenged. One councillor noted that of all the organisations he’d dealt with as an elected official he’d never come across the arrogance and contempt for the community displayed by Royal Mail. They saw no reason to carry out an equal opportunities impact assessment, and confirmed the Cubie Street building had not yet been sold.
The meeting ended with Royal Mail saying that there is no chance of the decision taken to close Cubie Street being reversed as the facility is currently unfit for purpose. They would, however, be willing to engage with local officials regarding the service to the public. It was requested that this be done within a month. It was also noted that a letter had been received from Royal Mail Chief Executive Moya Greene saying that she will look into the matter.
John Mason MSP lodged a motion to the Scottish Parliament 19th November referencing Cubie St, as well as the wider issue of sorting office closures. It attracted cross-party support from SNP, Labour, and Green MSPs. It can be found via this link (select recent motions, and then motion S4M-04883).
The wording is as follows:
That the Parliament is concerned at Royal Mail’s plan to close or relocate one third of all sorting offices, including Cubie Street in Bridgeton, Glasgow; believes that there is public demand for a local collection point if mail cannot be delivered to a particular address; does not consider that a charge of an extra £1.50 for a letter being collected at a post office is acceptable for people on limited means; accepts that Royal Mail needs to modernise its facilities; understands that the explanation for these changes given by Royal Mail staff at the public meeting in Bridgeton on 17 November 2012 was that privatisation was approaching and that this was also the reason why there did not need to be a consultation, and recognises calls for Royal Mail to remain a public service in public ownership.
The motion was supported by: Gordon MacDonald, Bill Kidd, Angus MacDonald, Hanzala Malik, Rob Gibson, Chic Brodie, Christina McKelvie, John Finnie, Colin Beattie, Kenneth Gibson, Mike MacKenzie, Adam Ingram, Richard Lyle, Kevin Stewart, Patrick Harvie, Jean Urquhart, David Torrance, Jamie Hepburn, Dennis Robertson, Drew Smith R, Mark McDonald, Stuart McMillan, Christine Grahame, Annabelle Ewing, Colin Keir
Glasgow City Council Motion
[6th December 2012 update]
As part of the ongoing SOSO campaign regarding Cubie Street there is to be a motion placed before the full Glasgow City Council at their meeting on Thursday December 13th. Sponsored by Councillor Jennifer Dunn, and seconded by Councillor Yvonne Küçük, the motion has the backing of all the local councillors for the Bridgeton, Dalmarnock, Calton and Dennistoun areas.
The wording, subject to minor changes before the meeting, is as follows:
Council is opposed to Royal Mail’s planned closure of the Cubie Street sorting office. Glasgow City Council is also concerned that Royal Mail’s communication in relation to this issue with elected representatives of all parties, as well as the general public, has been very poor.
Council agrees that the Chief Executive will write to Royal Mail to express concerns over the planned closure, and to request that elected representatives and community councils, as well as other interested parties, are consulted over this and in any other similar closure plans in Glasgow.
Council also believes that there is a disparity that there must be consultation over the closure of post offices, but not sorting offices. Council agrees that the Chief Executive will write to the relevant UK government minister and ask that legislation be amended so that consultation is compulsory over any planned Royal Mail closures that affect front line services in communities. This letter will be distributed to other councils in Scotland to highlight the issue.
You can still help by doing the following:
- Visit and like the facebook site at www.facebook.com/SOSOCubieSt
- Sign and share the online petition at http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/royal-mail-stop-the-closure-of-glasgow-s-cubie-street-sorting-office
- Collect signatures or distribute petitions: could you get your friends or neighbours signed up to the petition, or host copies of the petition at your local business, club or association?
- Contact the campaign via firstname.lastname@example.org
Save Our Sorting Office!