The mayor Rémi-Jalès says there is a great deal of anger in his village against La Poste: “They have no respect for local people and we don’t understand why they want to reduce the service when it is relatively well used.
“They want to close it on Mondays when there are on average 100 customers. The Post Office should fulfil its duties to provide a service.”
La Poste has now agreed to review the situation which will be reassessed in six months’ time.
Reorganisation of post offices frequently causes anger amongst local populations and unions say the service is being eroded as classic post offices are being replaced by agencies.
Among them are Agences Postales Communales, which are run by commune employees and part of the mairie, Relais de Poste which are part of a commerce which could be a shop or a printers for example, or a Maison des Services au Public, which houses several different services.
In the Dordogne there are now 86 full post offices, 129 communal agencies, 23 in shops and six Maisons des Services au Public. La Poste says that the agencies can carry out 90% of a full post office’s tasks related to letters and parcels but offer a much reduced banking service.
The CGT union which represents postal workers claims that the post office aims to close nearly 4,800 full post offices by 2020 with a resulting loss of 5,000 jobs.
They also claim that La Poste is changing hours and opening days for post offices in a deliberate move to make them less attractive to customers, which will make it easier to close them completely or replace them with an agency.
This is hotly refuted by La Poste. A spokesman told Connexion that each situation is judged on its own merits and that there is always, by law, consultation with local councillors. He also said that no employee would lose their job as a result of any closures or reduced hours as the policy was to transfer postal workers to a new site locally.
As a public service La Poste has obligations which are imposed by law. This means that there have to be 17,000 points of contact throughout the country and that 90% of the population must not be more than 5kms or 20 minutes by car away from a postal service – which can be an agency rather than a full post office.
At present there are 17,111 points of contact, of which 9,254 are post offices, and 7,829 are either Agences Postales Communales or Relais de Poste and there are 110 Maisons des Services au Public. 96.7% of the population live less than 5km from a point of contact according to La Poste.
Every three years a Postal Presence Contract is drawn up between the government, the post office and the Association of French Mayors. The latest one for 2017-2019 was signed in January. This maintains the numbers of contact points required and the government has slightly increased its funding from €170million to €174m.
Meanwhile La Poste’s diversification into other service areas continues on May 22, when it launches its new “Watch over my parents” service on the internet and in all post offices.
Trialled since October, the service will see customers pay to have a La Poste employee checking in on elderly relatives a chosen number of times (one, two, four or six per week). The postman will install hardware connected to a support centre, and then after each successful visit relatives receive text notifications on their phones.
Pre-launch offers start at €35.90 a month for one visit per week. See www.laposte.fr/veillersurmesparents or call 01 41 85 97 91.