A Blackpool post office has closed after the postmaster’s contract was terminated.
Marton Post Office on Preston New Road is shut after postmaster Ian Straughan’s contract was ended.
He said he was ‘shocked’ by the decision after 17 years running the business, and is being backed by the Communication Workers Union in the dispute.
A Post Office spokesperson said: “The decision to terminate a postmaster’s contract for services is not one taken lightly, but unfortunately this is a course of action that we have had to follow in this case.
“In doing so, we always follow robust and established procedures, which are agreed with the National Federation of Subpostmasters (NFSP), designed to protect equally the interests of Post Office Limited and the postmaster.
“Unfortunately we are unable to discuss the details of this matter further due to our contractual obligations to our former postmaster.”
The spokesperson said efforts were underway to restore the service.
They added: “We would like to retain continuity of service for our customers but, at this stage Mr Straughan has not confirmed whether the current premises will be made available for us to install a temporary postmaster.
“In the meantime we are arranging for a temporary bus service to take customers to a nearby post office.”
Mark Baker, national branch secretary of the CWU Postmasters Branch, said the Post Office had taken the “unprecedented step” of issuing Mr Straughan with three months notice to quit, but had then paid him off in lieu causing the branch to close with immediate effect.
Mr Baker added: “This is such unusual behaviour by the Post Office that I do wonder about the motives at play here.
“Is this a back door way of closing post offices?
“The Post Office have even refused to allow the union to represent Mr Straughan.
“The union considers this to be an unlawful act, we are taking legal advice over this.”
In a statement sent to the The Gazette Mr Straughan urged customers to contact Post Office bosses to call for a rethink on the decision.
He said: “It is with shock and horror that today Post Office Ltd have closed my branch leaving me with nothing. I have worked tirelessly for over 17 years serving the good people of Marton to have it taken away by a bunch of suits in London.
“I will not lie down without a fight. My customers and staff deserve more and I plead with everyone to help me get this decision overturned.”