Royal Mail Cambridge closure affects 200 staff

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Media captionThe work will be transferred to other sorting offices at Peterborough or Chelmsford

Royal Mail has announced it is to close and sell its processing plant in Cambridge, affecting up to 200 staff.

The bulk of its operations are being relocated to Peterborough with the remainder going to Chelmsford.

The company said the final decision had been taken after an eight-month consultation with staff and unions.

Royal Mail said it was "confident" posts could be found for staff, but the Communication Workers Union said jobs would be put in "serious jeopardy".

The centre is expected to close early in 2014.

The decision to close the office was made in response to the "huge growth in electronic communications and the resulting decline in overall mail volumes", and was part of a review of its business, Royal Mail said.

'Alternative roles'

Figures published by Royal Mail in June indicated the volume of letters in the UK fell by 6% compared to the previous year.

In Cambridge, it said the volume of items posted to and from the city and surrounding areas had fallen by more than 30% in five years.

In the statement, the company said: "Royal Mail has been working hard to identify alternative roles for [staff] and we anticipate collection duties will remain, although they will be located at the Cambridge delivery office.

"We will reimburse our staff for any extra mileage incurred by changes to their place of work.

"We are confident anyone wishing to continue working for Royal Mail will have the opportunity to do so if they are reasonably flexible."

Ricky McAulay, processing and collections director, said: "These changes to our operations in Cambridge will, unfortunately, impact on some colleagues.

"However, change is absolutely essential to meet customers' expectations of a world-class postal service."

The Communications Workers Union (CWU), which represents some of the postal workers at the Cambridge offices, described the closure as "a big mistake".

Branch secretary Mark Toner said: "Our members are fearful to what the future holds for them. If they want a job in Peterborough, this will mean a 90-mile round trip for many."

The union had not ruled out holding a ballot on industrial action, he added.

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