Portsmouth Royal Mail workers bid farewell to city mail centre

IT's the end of an era.

Saturday, 16th April 2016, 6:02 am
Royal Mail staff in Portsmouth held a gathering to say farewell to the city mail centre

That’s what Royal Mail night-shift workers have said after they bid a fond farewell to Portsmouth’s mail centre in Slindon Street, Landport.

They’ll be joining hundreds of other employees who have made the jump to a new mail ‘super centre’ that’s been created in Eastleigh to succeed the ageing city facility.

Royal Mail first revealed plans in 2012 to create a new state-of-the-art mail hub.

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And this week workers held a farewell party marking all of the years they’ve served at the city branch.

Royal Mail night-shift worker Andy Hare, of North End, Portsmouth, said: ‘I’ve been there 30 years, it’s part of my life and now I will have to go to Southampton everyday. Thirty years of someone’s life is a long time.

‘We knew, though, that the building is old and we needed a new place.

‘We are just taking it under our wing and going.

‘It’s definitely the end of an era. The Southampton centre is a lot more modern, but at the same time who is to say it couldn’t have been built somewhere else in Portsmouth?’

Mr Hare added: ‘I have got a lot of happy memories of people who have been here, and passed away.

‘And my dad, my uncle and cousins have worked here too.’

Mr Hare’s final night shift was last night and he is due to start in Eastleigh on Monday.

The Slindon Street site will still be used for deliveries.

The relocation plans put jobs at risk, though there’s been a mix of people who have taken either voluntary redundancy, moved to Southampton and got other jobs in the business on the delivery side. Royal Mail said it had decided to relocate its mail processing operation as part of a wider, ongoing review of its mail centres.

Ruth Harris, branch secretary for the Communication Workers’ Union, which represents mail workers, said: ‘We have to accept the changes with the decline in the letter market, and it’s part of Royal Mail’s ongoing closure of mail centres. But we don’t feel this is in the best interests of workers.

‘A lot of people are concerned about the traffic and sitting in the M27 car park.’