CWU vote to vote on final mile boycott

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CWUThe Communications Workers Union (CWU) have voted unanimously today for a full ballot of Royal Mail workers on a boycott of private mail companies’ ‘final mile’ mail as part of the union’s moves to protect the universal service (USO) and prevent privatisation of Royal Mail.

Private (downstream access/’final mile’) mail makes up 44% of the daily mail bag. Royal Mail says its average daily mailbag is 58 million items, meaning a boycott would leave 26 million items undelivered each day. These would include bills, statements, and business mail contracts won by companies including TNT and UK Mail under what the CWU describes as unfair competition and cherry-picking.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said “Privatisation is definitely not the answer to the challenges facing Royal Mail. It will mean the break-up of the company, the franchising of delivery rounds and the end of the USO. Because private companies work for profit, not for people“.

The Royal Mail have a different view saying that they are disappointed with the CWU’s decision to hold a consultative ballot of its members. They say that Royal Mail is fully committed to the delivery of mail entrusted to them under Downstream Access contracts. All of our customers’ mail is important to us. It needs to be delivered.

Royal Mail went on to explain that Access mail accounts for almost one in two of all the letters they handle. It was previously loss-making. In 2011/12 they made a profit of £80 million on Access mail. They say that price rises and a new regulatory framework that we secured, made this turnaround possible.

Disregarding the rights and wrongs of Access mail (it’s not going to go away), it sounds very much like the Union are squaring up for more industrial action. If it’s limited to not delivering bills posted through competing mail companies it’s unlikely too many members of the public will care so long as their birthday cards and ecommerce purchases arrive.

However online retailers using third party carries such as TNT Mail or UK Mail will want to keep a close watch on the CWU. If Posties decide not to deliver their products customers will be rightly irate but will be more likely to ding the seller’s feedback than fire off a note of complaint to the CWU

5 Responses

  1. We have just moved our “2nd class” mail back to Royal Mail from TNT as their new prices were not much different from Royal Mail and cheaper mail seemed to come at a cost in other areas.

    We did find that the 3 – 5 day service offered by TNT was actually taking 7 – 10 days to arrive at the destination and so our Where’s my item questions dramtically increased.

    I had two trains of thought on why some mail was taking considerably longer than it should, especially in West Midlands and Greater Manchester:

    Was TNT stockpiling the mail till it reached a certain level, therfore making use of discount levels that Royal Mail have.


    Was the mail sat in the receiving Royal Mail Depot’s till they got round to it.

    I like a good conspiracy theory just as well as the next man, and maybe some depots were already unoficially boycotting 3rd party mail.


    Just because i’m paranoid doesn’t mean that they are not after me!!!


  2. I think this is a strange tactic from the CWU – The Royal Mail have been trying to price DSA operators out for around 2 years now, the removal of the smaller weight bands was a great example of this – What the CWU need to realise is that carriers that use ‘Life Style Couriers’ are now attacking this market as it would fill the vans up nicely…. Can’t help but to think they may have just missed the point.


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