(Some links are to documents written in Microsoft Word. If you have difficulty opening the file, a "reader" can be downloaded HERE)

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Thursday 20th September 2007 Victory!, of a sort. At a briefing to staff - very similar to the one 359 days earlier - staff were informed that Gloucester Mail Centre will not now be closing "as part of the current project". Instead, Oxford Mail Centre will be taking our place in being relocated to Swindon. There were, however, no guarantees regarding the future of Gloucester Mail Centre. The campaign will continue, to retain a Mail Centre in Gloucester.

Read Royal Mail's Press Release

Saturday 1st September 2007 Many people will remember the article in The  Citizen, on 2nd May, where Royal Mail refuted suggestions that their plans for closure of Gloucester Mail Centre had been delayed. Well, with building work in Swindon due to have commenced in June, they are now three months behind schedule. Read the article
Tuesday 28th August 2007 The latest issue of Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda's newsletter - Gloucester Rose - features an article on the recent March & Rally. See Parmjit's article
Wednesday 1st August 2007 A video message of support has been posted on the YouTube website, by the CWU Eastern No. 4 Branch. Thanks very much for your support. See The Video
Thursday 26th July 2007 The campaign now has a presence on the Myspace website. So, if you have a Myspace account, please go along and take a look, as we will appreciate all the friends that we can get.
Thursday 4th July 2007 We have recently received two letters of support for our campaign, each containing a cheque towards our campaign costs. One was from the Swindon Branch of the CWU, whilst the other was from the Gloucester Branch of Unison.
Saturday 23rd June 2007 A well attended march took place through the streets of Gloucester, with a rally in the docks. See Further Details
Wednesday 13th June 2007 David Drew, MP for Stroud, mentions the proposed closure of Gloucester Mail Centre, during a debate in Parliament. Read The Debate.
Wednesday 23rd May 2007 The March & Rally has been confirmed with the relevant authorities as taking place on Saturday 23rd June 2007, starting at 1pm.
Tuesday 15th May 2007 David Drew, MP For Stroud, receives a written answer to a Question put to Jim Fitzpatrick, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry.

See The Question & Answer

Thursday 3rd May 2007 The number of visitors to this site passes the 10,000 mark.
Thursday 26th April 2007 Two members of the local CWU branch recently attended a women's conference - "Supporting Women At Work" - where one of the speakers was Royal Mail Non Executive Director Baroness Prosser. See Margaret Hill's report
Wednesday 25th April 2007 Following a meeting between CWU Branch Representatives and Royal Mail, on Monday 23rd April, a Branch Newsletter has been published, outlining Royal Mail's delayed plans for closure and the weakness of their Business Case. Read the Newsletter
Monday 16th April 2007 With so much information now contained on this site, it has become necessary to add a "Search" feature, to aid interested parties in finding what they are looking for.
Monday 16th April 2007 Three of the nominees to the CWU (Communication Workers Union) National Executive Council have mentioned Mail Centre closures in their election addresses.
John Farnan

John Farnan

Mick Kavanagh

Mick Kavanagh

Maureen Hooper

Maureen Hooper

Saturday 14th April 2007 One of the four motions put forward  by the Gloucestershire Amalgamated Branch to the for the CWU Conference reads -

"Conference agrees that the announcement by Royal Mail in late September 2006 of their preferred options to close the current Mail Centres in Gloucester, Coventry and Reading and replacing these centres in newly extended Mail Centres in Swindon and Northampton is a serious breach of the National Pay and Performance Agreement, Annex C – Processing Network and Structural Changes. This has seriously inhibited the abilities of the branches effected to influence these decisions and to submit viable alternative options.

Further more this conference believes that Royal Mail are developing a Mail Centre closure strategy in isolation of the National Union which constitutes further breaches of the national agreement. Conference instructs the Postal Executive to force the employer to halt the current closure programme until Royal Mail’s strategy has been shared and agreed with the CWU.

Until this policy has been achieved any attempt to close a Mail Centre/RDC or announcement of further Mail Centre Closures will invoke a national ballot for industrial action.

The PEC is instructed accordingly."

Monday 9th April 2007 Communication Workers Union Branch Secretary Paul Trehearne has received a letter from Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda, detailing the progress he has made in support of our campaign. Read The Letter

In his letter, Parmjit refers to a letter received from Ian Griffiths, Managing Director, Royal Mail Letters.

Saturday 31st March 2007 Several staff from Gloucester attended a March and Rally in Coventry, in opposition to the proposed closure of Coventry Mail Centre. Amongst the speakers were all of the local MPs and CWU General Secretary Billy Hayes. See The Pictures
Thursday 28th March 2007 In a Communications Workers Union "Letter To Branches", Deputy General Secretary (Postal) Dave Ward states "In order that the Union can deal with all these issues in the wider context of Royal Mail’s Letters Strategy the Union will seek a moratorium on any Mail Centre Closures." Read The Letter
Wednesday 27th March 2007 Union Representative Shaun Shute joined Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda to discuss the proposed Mail Centre closure on the Mark Cummings show for BBC Radio Gloucestershire
Friday 16th March 2007 Parmjit Dhanda, MP for Gloucester, has written to Baroness Prosser outlining some of the issues affecting female members of staff, should the Mail Centre close. Read The Letter
Wednesday 7th March 2007 Following consultation with the local members, the CWU have issued a Press Release, detailing six alternative options to Royal Mail's plans, and the local member's lack of desire to relocate to Swindon. Read The Press Release
Saturday 3rd March 2007
There was a large turn out for the Branch CWU Annual AGM at Walls Sports & Social Club. Guest speaker Dave Ward, CWU Deputy General Secretary, (right) congratulated the branch on their campaign to keep the Mail Centre open and pledged his ongoing support.

Dave Ward, Sean McGeough and Paul Trehearne

Dave Ward, Sean McGeough (Branch Chairman) and Paul Trehearne (Branch Secretary) prepare for the meeting (above).

Jim Vickery, Branch Legal & Medical Representative, addresses the meeting (below).

Dave Ward

Jim Vickery addresses the meeting

Thursday 1st March 2007 As the online petition reaches 2,000 signatures, the paper petition passes 6,500,making a total of over 8,500.
Monday 18th February 2007 Staff within the Mail Centre have been sent details of the Local CWU Counter Proposals for the future of Gloucester Mail Centre, along with a "preference exercise" form, so that staff state their views. The forms should be returned by 5th March, with the results expected shortly afterwards. Read the Counter Proposals
Thursday 15th February 2007 According to the BBC Website, a postcard is delivered in Wiltshire, 90 years late, after being found in the Swindon Sorting Office. Is this the kind of service that the people of Gloucestershire can expect in future?
Monday 5th February 2007  Laurence Robertson, MP for Tewkesbury, asks a question in Parliament, regarding the intended closure of the Mail Centre. See the Hansard report
Wednesday 31st January 2007 A special mention goes to Steve Mansell  of the Late Shift, who today handed in 866 signatures for our petition. With the signatures from the paper and online petitions combined, we now have over 8,000 signatures.
Tuesday 30th January 2007
The local branch of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are  currently working on counter proposals which will go before the members in Gloucester for their views. They are looking at 6 potential options, and will then undertake a consultation exercise with the members to see which option they want to put forward.
Wednesday 24th January 2007 Staff are informed in small groups, by managers, that planning permission for the extension to Swindon Mail Centre - required to accommodate the extra work - has been granted.
Monday 8th January 2007 We have received some correspondence shared between Mark Harper, MP for Gloucestershire West, and Royal Mail Headquarters.
Saturday 23rd December 2006 Everyone working on the campaign would like to thank all of our supporters and everyone who has so far signed our petitions. We wish you all Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year. The campaign will continue.
Friday 22nd December 2006
Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda visits the mail centre to thank the staff for all of their hard work over the Christmas period.

Wearing his "Save Gloucestershire's Mail Centre" T-shirt and Baseball cap, Parmjit met with staff and managers.

Parmjit Dhanda MP with Mail Centre Manager Peter Wilson

Parmjit Dhanda MP with Mail Centre Manager Peter Wilson

Thursday 21st December 2006
Due to the amount of work on hand at Swindon Mail Centre yesterday (20th December) Gloucester Mail Centre was asked to take a 50,000 item diversion. The mail was received and processing without any delay or failure. Not bad for a Mail Centre which is "not fit for purpose".
This clearance was achieved by the dedicated and loyal workers at Gloucestershire's Mail Centre. Imagine what could happen with a bit of investment in Gloucestershire!
Wednesday 20th December 2006 The number of signatures on our online petition passes 1,500 with another 4,100 already on the paper petition.
Tuesday 19th December 2006 Our campaign receives a mention in the South West TUC's Christmas Newsletter -

"Save Gloucester Mail Centre
Royal Mail has announced the closure of the Mail Centre in Gloucester where some 400 people work. The Communication Workers Union members at Gloucester have agreed to fight this decision and a campaign website is up and running. Part of the campaign is an online petition to Alistair Darling calling on him to take the necessary steps to stop this closure going ahead. Please go to the campaign web address "

Monday 18th December 2006 We have received a copy of the letter sent to Royal Mail Chairman Allan Leighton, by Gloucestershire County Council. Read The Letter
Friday 15th December 2006 Gloucester MP, Parmjit Dhanda uses his weekly column in The Citizen to write about the proposed closure of the Mail Centre. Read The Article

As promised, Gloucester City Council has written to Royal Mail, outlining their opposition to the proposed closure of Gloucester Mail Centre. Read The Letter

David Drew, MP for Stroud, spoke during yesterday's Parliamentary debate on the future of the Post Office. See The Debate

Thursday 14th December 2006 The campaign to save the Mail Centre features in local MP Parmjit Dhanda's Calendar for 2006/7

Friday 8th December 2006

Staff and local campaigners were joined in Gloucester's Kings Square by Local MP Parmjit Dhanda. As passers-by happily signed the campaign petition, BBC TV's Points West programme recorded scenes and interviews for their Lunchtime and afternoon bulletins. Stickers (right) were also handed out for people to attach to Their Christmas cards. If you would like some stickers, please send us your name and address by clicking on this one.

Read about it, and much more, at Parmjit's website


click on a picture to see a larger version.

Parmjit Dhanda MP (Gloucester) has been invited to a meeting with Royal Mail's  Area General Manager next Tuesday to receive a presentation on the planned closure of Gloucestershire’s Mail Centre.
Parmjit requested that the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is represented at the meeting but the request was flatly turned down by Royal Mail who said, “the meeting would not be constructive if the CWU were present”.
Also, David Drew MP (Stroud) and Martin Salter MP (Reading) have been invited
What have they got to hide? We can imagine the slick presentation the MP’s are going to receive. It will provide all the information that ROYAL MAIL WANT THEM TO SEE without any input from the Union.
No matter how slick Royal Mail’s presentation is or how they talk the proposed closure up it will have a devastating affect on the employees in Gloucestershire’s Mail Centre as over 400 jobs are in jeopardy.  
We also need to focus on is the environmental impact this will have on Gloucestershire with the additional large goods vehicles bringing mail back and forth from Swindon.
Parmjit has requested some additional information from the local CWU, which we will gladly supply. He has also said that he will be taking notes of the meeting and will share the details with us.
Thursday 7th December 2006 A Christmas card, urging proper investment in Gloucestershire's Mail Centre,  has been sent to Royal Mail Chairman Allan Leighton, Chief Executive Adam Crozier, every member of the Post Office Board, every senior Government Minister and all senior officers in the Communication Workers Union (CWU). See the card
Wednesday 6th December 2006 The number of visitors to this site passes the 5,000 mark
Monday 4th December 2006 So far, over 10,000 leaflets have been delivered to addresses across Gloucester, with another 10,000 ready to be delivered. If anyone can help, by delivering leaflets in your area, then Please Get In Touch
Friday 1st December 2006 Support for our campaign from Solidarity Magazine
Thursday 30th November 2006  
The motion, listed below, was debated by Gloucester City Council and was passed unanimously. Read a report of the Debate

(The document is written in Microsoft Word. If you have difficulty opening the file, a "reader" can be downloaded HERE)


City Councillors and Postal staff, wearing their "Save Gloucestershire's Mail Centre" T-shirts.

City Councillors and Postal staff, wearing their "Save Gloucestershire's Mail Centre" T-shirts.

Sunday 26th November 2006 Following on from the motion approved by Gloucestershire County Council, below, the City Council will debate the following motion on Thursday 30th November -

"This Council notes with concern the proposals by Royal Mail to close the Gloucester APC mail processing centre at Eastern Avenue and transfer all mail processing activities to a new facility to Swindon.

This Council notes and congratulates at Save Gloucester Mail Centre Campaign organised by the Communications Workers Union to raise awareness of the proposals and to urge Royal Mail management to withdraw them and retain mail processing in Gloucester.
This Council therefore resolves to:- 

1) give its support to the retention of mail processing at the Eastern Avenue facility;

2) give its full support to the Save Gloucester Mail Centre Campaign;

3) write to Royal Mail expressing its concerns;"

Further evidence of Royal Mail's disregard for the environment has been brought to our attention.
Wednesday 22nd November 2006
At a meeting of Gloucestershire County Council it was unanimously agreed by the Council that a letter would be sent to the Royal Mail Chairman and Chief Executive, expressing opposition at the planned closure.

Read a report of the debate

Read the document prepared by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) for the councillors.

(These documents are written in Microsoft Word. If you have difficulty opening the files, a "reader" can be downloaded HERE)

CWU members at Shire Hall

A group of Postmen and Women at Shire Hall, Gloucester, about to enter the Council Chamber to see democracy in action.

There are now over 1,000 signatures on the online petition and over 2,000 so far on the paper petition. With many more to come.

Friday 17th November 2006 The following objection to the Planning Proposal to extend Swindon Mail Centre has been lodged with Swindon District Council -

I wish to inform the Authority that I object to the Planning Application (S/06/2624) on the grounds that it is contrary to Planning Policy Guidance. There are four pieces of Legislation/Guidance that need to be adhered to with regard to such planning applications as this one.

1. THE PLANNING POLICY GUIDANCE (PPG MARCH 2001) 22.8 : The overall objectives of the guidance are to integrate Planning and Transport at the National, Regional, strategic, and local level to reduce the need to travel, especially by car.

2. THE ROAD TRAVEL REDUCTION ACT 1997 (RTRA) : Imposes a duty on Highway Authorities to set targets for a reduction in the level of traffic 92.2.13).

3. THE TRANSPORT 2010 TEN YEAR PLAN (2.2.18) Clearly states that all development proposals should not be reliant on private car travel.

4. THE WILTSHIRE AND SWINDON STRUCTURAL PLAN 2016 : One of the policies (2.3.2) clearly expresses that plans should be developed with a view to reducing the need to travel by private car.

The Application does not address any plans to reduce the reliance on the car for people commuting from Gloucester or Reading. It is simply not good enough to just say that the Railway Station is 3.5 miles away and can be reached by the number 13 or 20 bus. There are no trains at 05.00hrs or 22.00hrs.And to state that "it is often seen as the EASY OPTION to simply jump in the car" is ridiculous. It is often the only option.

In its conclusion on the Transport Assessment on page 49 they say that "the traffic generated by this development will reduce the overall traffic associated with the site by around 90 vehicles per day." How can this be? They are attracting another 450 employees to the site yet say there will be 90 vehicles less per day! It just does not add up.

Thursday 16th November 2006 There is to be a meeting of Gloucestershire County Council, at Shire Hall, Gloucester on 22nd November, which will debate the following motion -

"That this council records its dismay at Royal Mail's recent announcement to shut down its entire operation at the Eastern Avenue Mail Centre, which will see 420 jobs lost.

No consultation had taken place at any level with the 420 employee's representatives, in fact Royal Mail have ignored the agreements they had reached with respect to Mail Centre restructuring. 
This council objects to Royal Mail's plans to send all mail posted in Gloucestershire to Swindon. Their plan is going to have a huge impact with the increase of heavy goods vehicles in and out of the city. The loss of service is inevitable.
 That this council will contact the chief executive of Royal Mail expressing this council’s opposition to the proposals.
The Council would also wish to make representations to Swindon local authority, about the effects on its own environment of increased traffic from both Reading and Gloucester."
Wednesday 15th November 2006

Staff show their support for the campaign, by wearing t-shirts with the slogan "Save Gloucestershire's Mail Centre". They will continue to wear the t-shirts, every Wednesday, until Royal Mail drop their proposals. For a montage of other pictures, just click on this one

Early shift staff, wearing t-shirts
Tuesday 14th November 2006

Who said Gloucestershire's Mail Centre can't be extended. With a bit of thought and money this temporary accommodation could be removed, extended and replaced with a proper building!


A picture of a tent
Monday 13th November 2006 The trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling was in Plymouth to address a meeting of the city business leaders.

Not one’s to miss an opportunity the CWU hand delivered a letter to Mr. Darling detailing the campaign against the proposed closure of Gloucester Mail Centre. Included in the envelope were snippets of media coverage, the campaign website address and the Branch contact details.

 We hope that by cutting through the red tape of contacting Government officials our message will go straight to the top!

Read The Letter

(The document is written in Microsoft Word. If you have difficulty opening the file, a "reader" can be downloaded HERE)

The campaign is now featured on the website, so please go along and add your support for the campaign.

Saturday 11th November 2006 A members meeting at Walls' Social Club saw speeches from Parmjit Dhanda, MP for Gloucester, Martin Collins, CWU HQ Indoor Officer, Wayne Levvy, CWU Distribution Rep Reading Mail Centre, and Paul Trehearne, Branch Secretary Glos Amal. Pictures can be seen HERE.
Tuesday 7th November 2006
All CWU Shift reps met with the Area General Manager and Kevin Cooper recently to receive a presentation on the proposed closure of Gloucestershire’s Mail Centre. Also in attendance was Chris Tapper and Geoff Colwell, CWU Divisional Reps.
No new information was presented to us but reps questioned Royal Mail on a variety of issues such as:
  • Reasonable job offers (Swindon)
  • Collection Arrangements
  • Distribution Arrangements
  • Conversation from Full Time status to Part Time  
  • Size of GL4 3AA site and why it can not be made “fit for purpose”
Updates will be available at the membership meeting on Saturday 11th November.
Monday 6th November 2006 We have received the following confirmation from Swindon Council that anyone can post comments, regarding Royal Mail's planning application -

"Further to your email dated 01/11/06 - yes you can submit comments - it doesn't
matter where you live. if you visit the Council's website you will see a list of
issues that can be considered. (

Janet Busby

So, please make your objections clear, to planning application number S/06/2624

You can now download your own copy of the paper petition, by clicking HERE

After a mention in The Citizen, the number of unique visitors to this site passes the 2,000 mark

Sunday 5th November 2006 Our campaign is now featured on the Gloucestershire Green Party  website
Friday 4th November 2006
Branch representatives met with Parmjit Dhanda MP and the director of a major poster within Gloucester on Friday. The CWU outlined its fears to the director if Royal Mail's plans to shut the Mail Centre go ahead. We were told that part of the reason he located his business in Gloucester was because of the fantastic service he receives from the Mail Centre and the close proximity to the Postal Service.
He told us that he has already been approached by DHL, TNT and others who have expressed an interest in taking his work away from Royal Mail. He told us that he would not remove his postings from Royal Mail, as he is happy with the current service he receives from Gloucestershire’s Mail Centre. However he said that if the service he currently receives were to be effected he would seriously consider the approaches he has had from the companies mentioned above.
Thursday 2nd November 2006 Two items of news reach us regarding Royal Mail Chairman Allan Leighton. Firstly, according to BBC News, the Government are looking for a Deputy Chairman, in preparation for Mr Leighton's departure from his job. Secondly, according to the FT Website, Mr Leighton has been asked by Prince Charles to set up work initiatives for young Muslims in the North of England. This will come as little solace to the many Muslims working in Gloucester Mail Centre, who will be put out of work.

An objection to the planning application - to extend Swindon Mail Centre - has been sent by Shaun Shute.

"If this planning application goes through then the Mail Centres in Reading and Gloucester will close. This will result in the crazy situation that a letter posted in Gloucester to Gloucester will have to travel to and from Swindon before it can be delivered! The same madness will prevail in Reading. Hundreds of workers will be expected to travel to and from Swindon everyday in their cars. The risk to safety from the increase in traffic is obvious particularly on the perilous stretch of road between Crickley Hill and Nettleton Bottom. Accidents on this part of the A417 are already 30% above the national average. The effect on the environment that these extra journeys will bring should also be considered. Huge Royal Mail vehicles will also be entering and leaving Swindon seven days a week morning, noon and night. I expect the increase in noise will also be of concern to local residents."

Wednesday 1st November 2006 To date, Martin Salter MP's Early Day Motion has been signed by 21 Labour MP's, 2 Liberal Democrats, 2 Plaid Cymru, 2 Tory's and a Democratic Unionist Party MP. Please check to see if your MP has signed. If not , then please write to your MP and ask them to sign, wherever you are in the UK. (Residents of Gloucester should note that as a Government Minister, Parmjit Dhanda MP is prohibited from signing.)

Our campaign is now featured at the LabourStart website. Thanks for their support.

Monday 30th October 2006  A Members Meeting will take place on Saturday 11th November 2006. The guest speakers are Martin Collins CWU Indoor Officer and Wayne Levy - CWU Distribution Rep Reading Mail Centre. This will again be at The Walls Club starting 2pm, for around two hours.
Sunday 29th October 2006 With people falling over themselves to support us by signing our petition, the number of visitors to this site passes 1,000
Saturday 28th October 2006 The Online Petition is now up and running
Friday 27th October 2006 The Planning Application, number S/06/2624, has now been submitted to Swindon Borough Council, to extend Swindon Mail Centre, to cater for the additional work when Gloucester Mail Centre closes. If you have good reason to oppose the application, then please contact Swindon Borough Council.
Monday 23rd October 2006 Postman Shaun Shute receives a reply to an email that he sent to Royal Mail Chairman, Allan Leighton -

Thanks for the email..
I can confirm that we are proposing to close Gloucester mail centre and transfer the work to Swindon.  The reasons for this decision are explained below.

Firstly, we need to look at the wider context.  Our business is changing and we are facing increasing commercial challenges.  Our market share is starting to reduce and, with it, our income will fall.  Despite this we want to continue to improve things like basic pay and working environment and we have committed to close the significant deficit that exists in our pension fund.

 In more recent years, the rate of performance improvement at Gloucester mail centre has slowed with increasing competitive threat in the area whilst other offices in Thames Valley have made some significant improvements.

We know this is not due to the people who work at Gloucester who are recognised as hard working, committed and with good team spirit. However, the reality that other offices have improved their performance so much, relative to Gloucester, is indicative of the fact that the existing building is no longer fit for purpose and that it is starting to hold back improvements in both cost and quality of service.

Gloucester mail centre is an old building with significant space constraints.  As such, it is not suitable for the deployment of new production control processes or automation equipment currently being planned for letters, flats, packets and material handling.

We have looked at options to extend Gloucester mail centre and to provide a new replacement in the Gloucester area.  However, these options are financially impracticable.  The more viable option is for us to extend Swindon Mail Centre and to absorb the existing mail processing operation at Gloucester.  I fully realise our people at Gloucester won’t welcome this decision but equally we needed to consider the full picture and implications for the whole of the Thames Valley & Gloucester Area before
drawing up our plans.

kind regards


Friday 20th October 2006

Local Communications Workers Union (CWU) representatives meet with Royal Mail management in London.

 A meeting of the Gloucester Constituency Labour Party took place where one of the speakers was Postman Shaun Shute. Read Shaun's Speech.

They also received a report from the City's MP Parmjit Dhanda. The report is reproduced below.

The proposed closure of the Royal Mail Sorting Office on Eastern Avenue has obviously come as a shock and huge disappointment to all of us. I have been working with Martin Salter MP and David Drew MP on an Early Day Motion 2803.

 "That this House condemns the proposal by Royal Mail to close its mail centres at Gloucester and Reading and transfer operations to Swindon; considers that Royal Mail should have consulted fully, publishing all the evidence in full, before putting forward such a proposal; believes that the centralising of these mail centres will result in thousands of miles of unnecessary and unsustainable journeys by road, thereby causing entirely avoidable pollution and damage to the environment; and further considers that this sets a dangerous precedent for further closure of other mail centres in the UK".

 I am also in the process of lobbying local companies who will be affected by this decision and have been working with the CWU to prevent this closure. I know that Shaun (Shute) is going to talk in more detail about this issue; I think its really important that we all show our utmost support for the CWU's Campaign.

Thursday 19th October 2006

Without actually going public, this website has already had over 500 visitors.

Wednesday 18th October 2006

An Early Day Motion is tabled in the House of Commons, by Martin Salter, MP for Reading -

'That this House condemns the proposal by Royal Mail to close its mail centres at Gloucester and Reading and transfer operations to Swindon; considers that Royal Mail should have consulted fully, publishing all the evidence in full, before putting forward such a proposal; believes that the centralising of these mail centres will result in thousands of miles of unnecessary and unsustainable journeys by road, thereby causing entirely avoidable pollution and damage to the environment; and further considers that this sets a dangerous precedent for further closure of other mail centres in the UK.'

Words of support for our campaign received from Parmjit Dhanda, MP for Gloucester.

Read Parmjit's Words

Tuesday 17th October 2006

Reps had a meeting with Parmjit Dhanda’s office today to discuss the campaign and receive updates from him. We were told that the MP for Reading, Martin Salter would be submitting an Early Day Motion to Parliament on this matter. When this has been submitted we will let you know.

The planning application to Swindon Borough Council is still not listed on their website. The web address is We received information (from an unknown source) dated 13th October, which states, “a planning application will be submitted to Swindon Borough Council, seeking permission to extend the current site at Rowland Hill Close….”. We assume that there are problems with the actual application.

 It was expressed by Parmjit’s office that we need to keep the campaign in the public eye. So keep your letters going into the local press.

Words of support for our campaign received from David Drew, MP for Stroud.

Read David's Words

Staff have, naturally, been posing a selection of questions to the management team behind the proposed changes. Local Union reps have released a document, outlining their understanding of each answer. Read The Document

(The document is written in Microsoft Word. If you have difficulty opening the file, a "reader" can be downloaded HERE)

Monday 15th October 2006

Shuaib BhaiyatThe CWU National Youth event took place in Bristol between 13th and 15th October 2006. Delegates from the Gloucestershire Amal Branch were Shuaib Bhaiyat (pictured), Jess Spiers, Daniel Payne and Colin Graham. The main focus for the Branch delegates was to get the message across to everyone who attended the event that Royal Mail had announced the closure of Gloucestershire’s Mail Centre in 2008 and for us to seek support for our campaign. The branch delegates handed out cards advertising our website to all of the delegates from across the country. 

They also asked everyone to visit our website in order to keep up with the campaign and to give their support, using our online petition. There were people from all over the country at the event. This gave us the opportunity to get our message across to a wider audience.

 Shuaib Bhaiyat addressed the meeting and spoke on behalf of the Branch and told the General Secretary, Billy Hayes, and other national officers that it has been announced that Gloucestershire’s members wanted to fight Royal Mail’s plans.

 Shuaib stated, “we are a very good performing office but it has not made any difference and now Royal Mail want to shut our Mail Centre. This would have a huge impact on a lot of our members”. 

He continued, “If Royal Mail can shut Gloucestershire’s Mail Centre regardless of us being a good performing office, they will look at closing other down too”. Shuaib asked everyone at the event to get support from his or her branches to help save our Mail Centre.

The National Officers present at the event were asked to support our campaign by lobbying Members of Parliament, as we believe this is a national issue, which must be addressed. The Youth Delegates from the Branch gained a lot of support from those attending the event and gave our campaign national coverage.

Friday 13th October 2006

Branch Secretary and Political Officer met with Labour Councillors from the County Council. It was a very productive meeting where the Branch put across to Councillors the effects of closing the Mail Centre. A draft motion was submitted to the Councillors seeking their support for the campaign. It was unanimously agreed by the Labour Group to support the fight to keep Gloucestershire's Mail Centre open and have volunteered themselves to help gain petition signatures etc when required. 

It was also agreed that the campaign will be raised at the Forest of Deal District Council with a view to getting support from that local authority. 

It was further agreed by the Branch Secretary and Political officer that the councillors should amend the draft motion with a view to getting it supported by all political parties on the County Council at the next full meeting, which will be held on 22nd November at Shire Hall starting at 10am.

A letter is received from Martin Collins at CWU Headquarters, confirming a meeting with Royal Mail, for 20th October -
Further to my previous letter of the 2nd October 2006 I can now confirm a national meeting has been arranged to receive a presentation in respect of the feasibility studies proposed that affects Swindon, Reading and Gloucester.
The meeting will take place at 10.30 am on Friday the 20th October 2006 at Rathbone Place, London and I would like the Branch Secretaries and Area Processing Representatives from the three Mail Centres and a Divisional Representative from South Central and South West/South Wales to attend.
The intention will be to hold a staffside meeting at 10 am prior to the presentation and I would appreciate you confirming that you will be available as soon as possible so that I can also confirm the arrangement for this with you.
Yours sincerely 
MARTIN COLLINS                              

Our campaign makes front page news on the Royal Mail users website Hell Mail

Thursday 12th October 2006
David Drew, the MP for Stroud, raised the issue in Parliament

Photo of David Drew

 David Drew (Stroud, Labour) Link to this | Hansard source

Will the Leader of the House have a word with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry about the policies that the Royal Mail is pursuing? I am thinking, in particular, of the decision to announce the closure of both the Gloucester and Reading sorting offices and to centralise those services on Swindon. Will he ask, through his good offices, for the report on which that decision is based to be made available to us? Dare I say—on a day when environmental concerns are uppermost in all our minds—that it is not very bright to have a letter that is posted in Stroud possibly taken to Swindon and then perhaps via Bristol back to Stroud. That is not the way forward. Would he care to comment on that?


Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw (Lord Privy Seal, House of Commons) Link to this | Hansard source
I understand my hon. Friend's concern. There are questions to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry next Thursday and I hope that he is able to raise that matter then. Meanwhile, I will certainly pass on his concerns to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. We are all concerned. What he is talking about applies not only to the Post Office, but to supermarkets: goods travel huge distances around the country, apparently for no great purpose.
Monday 9th October 2006 - Email of support was received from the local branch of the Communication Managers Association (CMA) which stating "We  ( CMA committee ) feel that we can endorse your current campaign, subject to ratification by our members at a meeting at the end of the month, to discuss this & other serious issues facing our members. I can assure you this will be a formality.We believe your campaign to be a sensible, positive constructive one that we can sign up to and look forward to sharing information & developing a strategy in serving all stakeholders with an interest in retaining a Mail centre in Glos".
Thursday 5th October 2006 - Extract of letter from Dave Joyce at Communication Workers Union (CWU) Headquarters-

"Royal Mail Group is one of the UK's largest consumers of transport services with a fleet of some 33,000 vehicles. At the end of last month Royal Mail published its third annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report for 2005-2006, in which the organisation continues to give a high priority to minimising harmful emissions and reports on its ongoing programme of reducing its CO2 greenhouse gas pollution levels and fossil fuel consumption."

Yet Royal Mail still intend to close Gloucester Mail Centre and endanger the environment by sending staff and mail 34 miles to Swindon.

A CWU delegation from Gloucestershire Amal Branch met with Martin Horwood MP (Cheltenham) to discuss the impact the planned close would have on the quality of service in Cheltenham. Martin was very supportive and agreed to assist the CWU with its campaign to retain Gloucestershire's Mail Centre.

 Martin agreed to write to the Area Manager for the Thames Valley & Gloucestershire expressing his concerns.

Wednesday 4th October 2006 - Royal Mail concede that the way in which Mail Centre closures was announced was not undertaken in line with previous agreements.

David Drew MP met with CWU Branch Reps from the Mail Centre to discuss the impact the planned closure would have. David Drew suggested that the potential enviornmental impact would have a huge effect on the amount of cardon emmissions within the Gloucestershire Area.

 David pledged his full support and would be writing to the Chairman of the Post Office requesting a copy of the feasibility study they have undertaken.

Saturday 30 September 2006 - At a meeting of over 150 CWU members, it was decided to oppose the closure. Speakers included Paul Trehearne - Branch Secretary - and Parmjit Dhanda - MP for Gloucester.
Tuesday  26 September 2006 - Staff at Gloucester Mail Centre are informed of Royal  Mail's intention to close the office and relocate all work to Swindon Mail Centre in 2008

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