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Tuesday 9 October 2007

The end of the Royal Mail is nigh [Beej]

rm bin

Three years ago I began our long-running blog about the declining condition of the Royal Mail in Blog 699: Die, Royal Mail, Die. Today, we’re in the midst of a long weekend strike of about four days, which is long enough for my daily life to be ever so slightly affected as sacks of mail accumulate like its Christmas.
Because the small-scale strikes have fallen on deaf ears, the Posties’ Union has revealed new strikes that are not just breaks in service, but a major rolling strike intended to maximise the disruption to the nation. For weeks not days. Who does it affect? Well not them of course, they continue to work through their backlog – it affects you, me, your Gran, your cat, and every business in the land.

Gloves are off now though, with a list of 1970s union-supported working practicesnow revealed. You may not be surprised by them:
  • Two or three hour minimum daily overtime - if 30 minutes of actual work is completed, between two and three hours' payment is demanded
  • Set overtime claimed at Christmas, even if there is no need for any additional hours and no extra hours are worked
  • No flexibility between different parts of the same sorting office - if an employee sorts letters for a particular postcode, they will not sort for the adjacent postcode, even though both activities are often in the same room
  • Overtime to cover for an absent colleague - a full day is claimed, even if only half day worked

Work shy Posties? Erm... yes! And they should be ashamed of themselves.


If the Union cannot be castrated, we need to sack the entire workforce.

Every single person.make them all redundant, close the business. Then, using a new organisation, let's call it Royal British Mail Reborn, make them all re-apply for their jobs. Oh by the way, there's a contract for every employee. A fair one, not a loony-left one. Like normal British people in employment. Like you and like me.

Postman, mail sorter, van driver, box throwerdoesn’t want to sign a new contract? Doesn’t want to work hard for a living? Doesn’t want to invest time and effort rather than cheat their employer out of it? That’s fine. Because I suspect there’s plenty of new European immigrants who will jump at the chance.


  1. Fucking ay.

    The thing about this development is that it forces business to make alternative arrangements. That involves forcing them to overcome a typical hurdle of momentum in using the same provider. When you've done that these business find themselves with an account with alternative providers and things going on relatively peachy and they think righty, so why on earth would I go back to Royal Mail.

    Unions never seem to be part of the solution. They're not looking to help make the business more competitive and hence be profitable, grow, employ more people, increase wages etc. It's always stuff that just falls from the sky. Money tree stuff. I think they have kept hold of the idea that RM is a nationalised industry. That somehow if they actually drive it into the ground the government will ride in on many-legged running suitcases packed with millions of quid from the eternal fountain of taxpayer's money.

    No. You're a business now. You can fail and you appear to be doing everything to ensure that you will.

  2. I'm genuinely astonished at those practices; I mean, come on, what the hell are we doing tolerating this sort of absolute nonsense?Any sympathy I may have had with the man or woman "on the ground" has now completely evaporated. This needs fixing ASAP. Create a number of highly automated regional Super Offices using the latest technology. Employ a non-union skilled and contracted workforce to maintain and oversee. Tie a bonus in with performance. Sack every single worker who is on strike and who will not remove themselves from the union forthwith and subject themselves to a good, well thought through contract. Tie a bonus in with performance. Employ former sub Post Masters, Post Masters, and members of the public at a regional level to monitor performance of both line workers and management. Invest in the transportation network; consider re-introducing the mail train which is by far (I would have thought) the most efficient and eco-friendly long-distance transport & sort platform the Royal Mail ever had. Invest in non-stamp based technologies (such as 'print at home frank-mark' stuff) and additionally invest in the online components of the Post Office's traditional offering. Scrap any benefits or giro payment unless it goes directly into an account and furthermore, shut down anyPost Office that doesn't handle a % of business (core or otherwise) that makes it worthwhile. Put some goddamned PRIDE back into the service. Its the Royal Mail for god's sake, not some tinpot nation's first stab at pass the parcel. Buck up or ship out.Make these changes happen. Bin the losers and the whiners and the slack workshy peons and get some backbone into the place.


  3. Some of that stuff is very very outdated, I'm a lefty myself, but it's too much.

    The OT thing tho, I can sorta see that. I've been asked to come in on Christmas eve, for example, to knock down all the servers for a power test. Now with traffic thats 60 mins in, an hour to do both server rooms, then another hour home. In your opinion thats an hours ot? I don't think so.

    But their conditions baffle me, it's cash for nothing and pretty much indefesible. My sis works for a call centre, but isn't part of the strike. She's got the daily joy of crossing the picket line, with the abuse that entails. Which only redoubles once they come into work from the picket line.

    I'm waitingon a job offer, for monday. No sign of it, I called HR and it's mine like. But there's going to be thousands of people out there missing out on stuff because of this.

    From what I heard they want full time seasonal workers though, which is bad. Delivery staff are paid weekly, but in future will be told what hours they'll be working on a week by week basis. This could be zero hours or 40.

    Now a smaller full-time staff guaranteed work may be on the cards, with temp staff in as and when. But mail gets dumped in hedges by folk brought in, or gets opened. Who hasn't seen that documentary on the liverpool temp work force antics?

    There's no easy solution, but this typical root and branch reform approach from Brit/Lurk just can't work for something that guarantees to hit every single home in the UK within 24 hours for under 30p. That invovles shedload of people, not fancy home frank shit.


  4. Yes you're probably right that it's not practical. It should be. It's just that the human race isn't terribly good at delivering massive reform of anything.

    No, being paid one hour of OT is not cricket. Normally if you're being called into work just for an hour, there's a minimum you get paid. Where as if it's just an extension of your day then it's just the hour.