by Oxford postal worker
The postal industry in this country is in the process of radical change. Driven by ideology and a worship of the market the New Labour Government has forced competition into the postal industry years in advance of the rest of Europe. In the name of profit the postal industry has been opened up to competition with destructive results for the service to the customer and for those employed by Royal Mail.
In the past the postal industry was cross-subsidised and paid for itself. Those parts that could make profit subsidised those that didn’t. When opening up the market New Labour ensured that those rich pickings would then be available to private companies such as TNT, DHL, etc. The profit would no longer serve the public but go to the Fat Cats of the private companies. With the flow of cash draining out of the public service this has meant round after round of cuts to the service.
In recent years we have seen the second delivery disappear forever. Local Post Offices have closed at an alarming rate and to such an extent that those that remain open have a queue that winds around the shop and out into the street. As well as increasing the cost of postage in recent years Royal Mail have also included further complications of size and weight to further baffle the customer. In Oxford the local delivery office in Headington has been closed ensuring that residences have to now travel around the ring road to Sandy Lane West to pick up a package. Or if they lack transport they now have to take two bus journeys each way. All this is supposedly to improve the service! How can moving a delivery office miles away from it’s delivery points create a better service? How can shutting Post Offices improve the service?
It was only in recent years that Alan Leighton and Adam Crozier (those presently running Royal Mail on behalf of the government) were shouting to the world how they had against all the odds turned the business around and into a quality service that was making large profits. There was so much money sloshing around that Adam Crozier even gave away a million pounds to the Olympic bid! Those days are now forgotten as we set for more cuts and the slashing of a public service. This year alone Royal Mail are looking for another 350 million pounds of cuts and a further 1.2 billion pounds in the next five years. It is hard to imagine what the postal service will be like in five years but if it continues in its present direction it does not look promising!
For those that work in Royal Mail it has meant that the job has consistently got harder and harder over the years. Yet Royal Mail believe that the massive redundancies in recent years is not enough and want a further 40,000 post workers to go. They also believe that the post workers that remain should pick up the slack caused by this shortage and do the work for a less than inflation pay rise. A pay cut! They believe we are over paid and under worked. They also wish us to take on more work but wish to take back the present payments for said work.
In reaction to this crisis the CWU have balloted all their members concerned nationally. The result was a massive YES vote that may yet make both Royal Mail and the Labour Government return to the table and see sense. Both the public and those employed in Royal Mail deserve better than what New Labour are delivering!!!