A Letter Explains All.
A letter in the Times explains why there is a postal dispute in Britain and why the management are to blame for this poor state of affairs:
“Sir, I worked for Royal Mail (report, Oct 9) from 1975 to 1998, rising from postman to line manager. What the management wants to implement now were the practices that were in place then. It was management that changed, for efficiency reasons, to the practices they have today.
Postal staff sorting mail during the day would cover deliveries for sickness or holidays. Agency staff were only used at Christmas; all other shortfalls were covered in-house. Management cut these jobs.
Staff would work in a two or three-week rotation, delivering, sorting and collecting post, which made them flexible and multiskilled. Management split these into three separate departments, and staff had to choose which department to work in. There was no crossover and no flexibility. Part-time working in the early evening for sorting is ideal as the bulk of mail is collected from 5pm onwards.
Regarding a pension fund deficit, in some years Royal Mail made more than £200 million annual profit; all profits went to the Government. During this period the Government took a holiday of more than ten years from paying into the pension, as it said there was too much money in the fund. This contributed greatly to the present deficit.
In my time at Royal Mail it was estimated that it cost £18 to send a single letter from Southampton to Edinburgh. This was subsidised by the millions of letters delivered locally. If full privatisation of Royal Mail goes ahead, like the bus services and post offices, we will see the same problems arising in rural communities. People will have to collect their own mail from a central area simply because it will be too expensive to deliver, as the profitable areas that subsidised these deliveries will be creamed off by private companies.
Update 1: I missed this, but Royal Mail bosses got £10 million in bonuses:
“An investigation by The Independent on Sunday has revealed that Mr Crozier is not the only beneficiary of the company’s success in forcing through changes deemed “absolutely essential” by senior managers. Since 2002/3, Royal Mail Group has paid its executive board members – who typically number between four and six at a time – a total of more than £22m in salaries alone. But the executives received £10.7m in performance-related bonuses.
The bonus bill has risen from £616,000, shared between seven executives and the former non-executive chairman Allan Leighton in 2002/3, to £1.03m split by just four individuals last year.
Royal Mail made an operating profit of £321m in the year to 31 March, but it was the first time in 20 years that all four parts of the business had been profitable.
Geraldine Smith, the Labour MP leading the campaign against any privatisation of the service, said: “At a time when they are telling us how perilous the Royal Mail’s position is, they should not be taking millions of pounds out of the company. Anyone can make people redundant or cancel the second delivery.”
(H/T: Rubbish Royal Mail)