Post office shuts due to staff shortage
By LESLEY INNES CONFUSED shoppers turned up at Ely Post Office on Tuesday morning to find the doors locked and a notice declaring that the building was closed due to staff shortage . They were angry as they queued to pay their bills and access postal ser
By LESLEY INNES
CONFUSED shoppers turned up at Ely Post Office on Tuesday morning to find the doors locked and a notice declaring that the building was closed due to "staff shortage".
They were angry as they queued to pay their bills and access postal services because no-one was on hand to give them more information.
One disgruntled customer said: "I went to pay my Council Tax and found a note on the door saying the post office had closed at 10am due to staff shortage. There was nothing to say when or if it were going to open again. What are we supposed to do?
"It's ridiculous the fact that Ely is growing fast and we can't rely on the main post office."
The High Street post office, run as a franchise by Lloyds Pharmacy, had been causing concern for postal service watchdog Ely-based Postwatch.
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It had called for the building to be refurbished and for a proper queuing system to be introduced after complaints from customers.
Post Office staff had also expressed concerns over the past few months about possible redundancies and two workers had left recently.
Postwatch had been told last month that there were moves to recruit a new deputy manager and other staff.
But Tuesday's decision to close the post office came as a bolt out of the blue leaving customers and Postwatch baffled.
The post office opened several hours later but Postwatch has attacked the closure as "totally unacceptable" and it left customers wondering whether the service can be relied upon in the future.
"Customers in Ely should be able to rely on the Post Office being open at core times," said Linda McCord, Postwatch regional manager.
"We want assurances that the post office will not close during core hours in the future."
She said that Postwatch had been assured that while new staff were being recruited the branch would be fully manned and that there was a real commitment on the Post Office's part to ensure that customer service improved.
"We encourage customers to make their views known to Post Office Ltd and also to contact Postwatch on 08456 013265 if they are unsatisfied with service levels at Ely Post Office," she added.
Mike Quinn from Lloyds Pharmacy said: "Unfortunately, due to staff sickness the post office in the High Street was temporarily closed from 10am until approximately 1.30pm. We are in the process of sourcing additional relief staff for the rest of the week to avoid this happening again."