Royal Mail managers plan for strike coverage

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This Thursday will see the results of a ballot of 127,000 postal workers, which is expected to be overwhelmingly in favour of strike action over pay and working conditions. The Communication Workers’ Union needs to give RM just one week’s notice of a strike, which means that industrial action could begin as early as the middle of this month. The Telegraph reports one senior RM manager comparing the action to the miners’ and Longbridge strikes, both notorious for dragging on for months: another said that it was likely to prove the “tipping point” for the company.

Royal Mail managers have apparently drawn up contingency plans for strike coverage, that could see 6,000 senior managers delivering the post themselves. Other plans are also apparently in place, but these are being kept secret for now. One can imagine that farming out sorting and much of the delivery process to RM’s competitors would be possible, though hardly desirable for RM themselves. The problem is the famous “last mile” delivery, which only Royal Mail currently has the staff to complete. Will we see Adam Crozier on our doorsteps handing over jiffy bags himself, or are the queues of eager eBay buyers at sorting offices on Saturday morning only going to get worse?

It’s easy to say that eBayers need to make their own contingency plans, but with RM the only cost-effective way to deliver most small packets within the UK, it’s very difficult to suggest a way around this. I have no doubt that, in the event of a prolonged strike, RM’s competitors *will* start to offer delivery services to small businesses, and that could spell the end for RM themselves.

2 Responses

  1. I’m just astonished that they have 6000 senior managers!

    I’m old-fashioned when it comes to the Royal Mail. Even 10 years in to the age of the mass internet age it’s a valuable service. The contribution that an efficient, reliable postal service makes to the economy is huge. So let’s run it properly whether as a completely unfettered private concern with specific undertakings (such as BT) or a state-owned organisation that exists for the benefit of the country that’s properly subsidised and not required to make a profit.

    I personally prefer the latter and include PO counters in the picture.

  2. Sadly I think it’s too late to go back to a state-owned organisation: even if there was the will to do that in the UK, European regulations wouldn’t allow it – and if you think that causes trouble in Britain, you wait til Sarko starts trying to modernise La Poste – France’s biggest employer :O I *am* going to have fun…

    I’d love to see RM freed up to compete properly. It’s absolutely certain they can’t go on as they are.

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