As you will have seen, Post Office Ltd (PO) has announced a scheme for supporting June’s remuneration for the network. After the approach for underpinning April and May’s remuneration was agreed with the NFSP, we began discussions with PO about the approach for subsequent months. These discussions have taken place against the backdrop of a significant decline in Post Office transactions due to the coronavirus.
The NFSP is therefore pleased that yesterday’s announcement meets the three main criteria that we sought to achieve for June’s remuneration:
1 - Rewarding offices that have stayed open. As subpostmasters ourselves, we are acutely aware of the additional challenges you currently face in continuing to offer Post Office services. Importantly, we have listened to what colleagues across the network have said and fed this into our conversations with both PO and government. All offices will receive a 15% top-up of their June remuneration for transactions carried out over the qualifying period. This scheme recognises these challenges and offers a level of reward accordingly.
2 - Protecting offices that have had to close. Of course, many branches have had to close for various and entirely legitimate reasons. Between the NFSP and PO we have agreed that no post office and no operator should be left behind in these unprecedented times. The NFSP believes it is appropriate that hardship support should be made available for any office that can demonstrate it requires additional support beyond the schemes that government and PO have made available.
3 – Supporting the whole network. Independent subpostmasters will always be at the core of the NFSP’s activities – but we firmly believe that the overall network should be protected. Conversations the NFSP has had with several multiple operators indicate that they and their staff have gone ‘above and beyond’ to keep their post offices open in order to continue serving their communities, just as independent subpostmasters have. As a result, we believe multiple operators should be supported too. Maintaining 11,500 post office branches is a key objective for PO - and this is something the NFSP supports because of its implications for the financial support the network receives from government. Multiple operators own around a fifth of post offices nationally, so their strategic role in the future success of the network overall should not be ignored.
However, we are disappointed with PO’s decision to link the support to additional criteria. This was not something the NFSP agreed with. Under normal circumstances, the NFSP would be fully supportive of initiatives to encourage colleagues to register with Branch Hub, to carry out overnight cash holdings (ONCH) and complete branch trading statements on time - but we don’t believe that during a time of national crisis, the provision of much-needed financial support should hinge on these things.
Beyond this, we have raised a number of concerns with PO about how this will play out in practice and we will work to make sure those concerns are addressed effectively.
The NFSP will support you as far as possible in getting registered with Branch Hub. If you anticipate having problems complying with the requirement to register with Branch Hub, let PO know in the first instance by emailing email@example.com and/or contacting your Area Manager or NBSC. If you experience any difficulty resolving the issue, please call the NFSP on 01273 452324 (option 4).
You can also watch THIS VIDEO which shows you how to sign up to Branch Hub and change your opening hours.
Discussions about July’s remuneration will begin soon and the NFSP will continue to work for a positive outcome that will protect your livelihood through the current pandemic and beyond.
PO have sought to provide comprehensive guidance on how your June remuneration will be calculated (see One Post Office) – however, if you have any questions or concerns then please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org