Self-service kiosks to be installed at Norwich Post Office amid fears of job losses

PUBLISHED: 10:59 05 September 2014

Post Office sign. Photo credit should read: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

Post Office sign. Photo credit should read: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

Jobs could be lost at a central Norwich Post Office, as new ways of working are introduced.

Managers insist that a move to install four new self-service kiosks at the Castle Mall branch will be a positive move for customers, that no staffing decisions had been made yet and no redundancies would be compulsory.

They hoped new technology would help reduce waiting times, without losing the human touch.

It is understood around two dozen people work at the branch, and union chiefs have vowed to keep a close eye on the situation.

A Post Office spokesman said bosses were investing in new technologies nationwide, but also assessing staff duties and ensuring services were viable.

“As part of this process, we are also assessing duties at Castle Mall Post Office, though no changes have yet been made,” the spokesman said. “Potential changes will not involve compulsory redundancies.

“The revision of staff duties will be in line with current business levels, and we would like to assure customers that they will still benefit from quality service from trained staff.”

They faced a “stark cost challenge” but were trying to reduce waiting times, with four self-service kiosks to be installed in the coming months.

“These versatile machines are far more reliable than the existing Post & Go machines,” said the spokesman. “They are quicker, more efficient, sell priority mails services and second-class stamps, and provide bill payment facilities.

“Customers at branches where the new self-service kiosks have been installed already have indicated high levels of satisfaction, and we hope that customers at Castle Mall Post Office will feel the same.

“This does not mean that service will lose the human touch, however, as the self-service kiosks will be hosted by a friendly member of staff to help customers with their transactions.”

Tim Pavlin, Communication Workers Union (CWU) area representative for the eastern region, said the machines should help with Royal Mail services, and could free up counter staff to deal with services such as finance and travel.

“It’s a business-driven initiative and we will be keeping a close eye on the quality of service that customers are given,” he added. “If we feel it becomes fragile, we will go in and make sure the public are given an attractive service.”

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