Dave Woodrow’s store, Woodrow’s, is in Bishopton, which is located 10 miles west of Glasgow and has a population of about 8,000 (from 2,000 houses and currently there are another 3,000 being built – 500 of them completed and all near a railway station). He says: “From a parcel pick up point of view, it’s a great place.”
But he stressed that it wasn’t serious business in his case, just that it provides a service to the community (he is chairman of the Community Council).
Dave also had plenty to say on the falling out between Payzone and Hermes.
He says: “In a way, the removal has done me a favour as I am being pressurised by the Post Office to stop doing Hermes, UPS and another parcel company, as in the Post Office Local contract it is not allowed.
“I have resisted that clause in the contract as the parcel services were in place before the Post Office moved, and whereas in the past I was a Post Office employee receiving a salary I am now an independent operator offering the Post Office a location and only receiving a remuneration for the work undertaken.
“Maybe the clause should have been challenged when the contract was agreed by the NFSP (National Federation of sub-Postmasters) but they probably did not realise, or want to realise, the long-term implications, especially in rural environments.”
Dave previously had two premises: the Post Office with two ‘fortress’-type serving points with some retail sales area; and a convenience store/newsagents on the other side of the road. He says he had been underwriting the Post Office for at least five years so when Network Transformation was offered and enthusiastically promoted by the Post Office he took the opportunity to merge the two operations into one.
The reason that his convenience store had taken on the parcel services was customer demand. He explains: “When the Post Office/Royal Mail brought in ‘pricing in proportion’ it resulted in small packets being cheaper to send to Germany than to Greenock 10 miles down the road.
“When the Post Office moved into the new premises we lost several services as we were downgraded to a ‘Local’ rather than a ‘main’ post office.”
His local MSP Derek Mackey had at least one letter of complaint from a constituent about it, and Dave and his staff had to fend off several irate customers. So Dave will be making Mackey aware of the loss of the Hermes service and the constraints that are placed on him by the Post Office regarding other parcel services.
“Maybe he, as a government minister, will see the potential economic and environmental issues that the Post Office policy on this issue could have, especially in small communities where there is only one outlet which may have been asked to take on the Post Office.”