Sunday, August 05, 2007

Post office workers blackmailed and bribed

Post Office bosses turned to blackmail and spying to make sub-postmasters co-operate with their closure programme.

Postmasters were told exactly how to answer questions from worried customers - and warned that undercover PO staff would check that they complied.

They were also told they could lose compensation payments of up to £60,000 if they failed to parrot the official line. Tories reacted with outrage, saying postmasters were being forced to act as Government spin-doctors.

Ministers and Post Office chiefs say 2,500 rural branches must close in the next 18 months because customers are deserting them for the Internet and phone banking.

As well as blackmailing postmasters they have also decided to bribe the rest of the staff into shutting up by threatening them with losing a £1000 lump sum payment if they do not get involved in or support opposition to the changes.

Examples of protest include "asking customers to sign a petition or handing out leaflets during working hours, or taking part in strike action… any individual colleague who supports or is involved in activities that oppose our plans, during working hours, will not qualify for the payment".

It is not just postmasters and their workers which are being blackmailed and bribed. The head of the Royal Mail is to get a bonus of £1 million for carrying out the closures on top of his £250,000 salary.

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