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NONE of the staff at Basildon Post Office have accepted transfers or new contracts with WHSmith.

Post Office bosses announced last week they were pressing ahead with plans to close the branch in East Square and move services into WHSmith in Town Square – 50 metres away.

The Communication Workers Union, which staged a number of strikes against the proposals, has now revealed all of the 14 employees have opted for payouts.

Garrie Bond, South Essex representative, said: “WHSmith could technically change the terms and conditions of contracts after just one day, so workers could find themselves on minimum wage.

“Understandably, they don’t want to do the same job and be even busier, but for less money.

“For some staff, it is what they want, because they are at the right stage in life to stop working, but for the majority it has been very upsetting.

“The pain is going to be felt by the public. I think everyone is going to be in for a shock.

“More than 250 years of combined experience has gone.

“Customers are complaining about long queues now, but they are only going to get worse.

“WHSmith is going to have to get new people in who haven’t worked for the Post Office before.”

The existing Basildon Post Office will close on Wednesday, March 26, with six new counters opening in WHSmith the next day.

Customers will be able to access services from 9am until 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday, and between 10am and 2pm on Sundays – an extra five hours a week.