Postal Strikes

My blog comes from a crazy place from my brain where I ponder about random everyday issues through my view of the world. Today I was not sure what to write about, the only thing I feel passionate about is the postal strike! Why are our postmen on strike and does this mean the service design of the Royal Mail does not work? Or is it just a brake down in communication between management and the unions? The CWU union may be fighting for the rights of the for the Royal Mails work force but they are causing the whole country problems with a back log of between 50 and 60 million letters. Will this change the way we use the postal service forever? Will it be the end of the Royal Mail? These are all questions I plan on answering in my blog today.

The postal strikes started on the 7th of august this year when 25 thousand Royal Mail workers walked out from their post. The strikes have continued and now with the lead up to Christmas there are more plans for strikes to disturb the festive period. They are striking about pay, but how much does the average postman get paid? And how much more do they want? They are paid "As a guide, new employees aged 18 and over will receive basic pay of around £256 a week for full-time hours rising to £285 - £311 after 1 year. This rate will be on a pro-rata basis for part-time hours. Higher rates are paid in Inner and Outer London and in some parts of the South East." This is from Royal Mails own website that would mean that they make on average £13,312 and they are looking to jump to a crazy £17,500. Do the postmen not realize that we are going through the deepest recession since World War Two; there are around 2.5 million people unemployed in the UK. Other companies are cutting wages freezing pension pots and employees are being asked to work for free or even told to take unpaid leave. Why should taxpayers fork out more money to pay for their pay rises? Just because the Royal Mail is still a public sector company does not mean that they should have to cave into the CWU's to get the company up and running again. The tax payer is already forking out billions to bail out the banks that got us into recession in the first place, so why should we give more money to Royal Mail so postmen can have a £4000 pay rise when we are suffering our self’s.

What are they going to do extra for the their £4000? Well, not much they plan on doing the same jobs as they used to do. The CWU's are also stopping the Royal Mail from trying to change and modernize the postal services. In this age of emails and internet banking and ever improving communication the Royal Mail needs to move with the times and look at there new target markets. Currently the Royal Mail loose around 10 million letters a day to competitors and electronic communication. Surely this extra £4000 per employee would be better being invested back into the company to radically change this iconic public service. Reviewing its whole service design, are post offices still relevant to today’s general living? Who actually uses the post office, the pensioners get there pensions paid into their bank account these days, you can apply for passports online, and most other things you pick up at the Post Office can be downloaded from the internet. The only function that cannot be done online is sending packages. Another big question is, are Post Offices in the right loctation?

For example in my local town of Glenrothes they have moved my main Post Office from its own store that was located just outside the Kingdom Shopping Centre and it’s know located within WHSmiths on the second floor. This store is not the largest on the ground floor so after shuffling between newspaper stands and the queuing public you are faced with a very steep staircase that everyone has to clime before reaching the Post Office. The hand full of times I have ever been in this new post office I have stood in a queue for about 15minutes just to either get a form for something that I don't feel is worth giving up 15 minutes of my time in my ever busier life style. While waiting for such a period you observe things like old ladies complaining about the move of the post office. Then you catch the manager giving everyone a smug look as he thinks he is important but really has no influence in anything of importance within the company. He is one of these people that just by looking at him I can tell I don't like him and he makes me feel uncomfortable ever time I see him.

Why cant we change these old fashioned Office style cattle markets that makes everyone wait so long and make you feel so uncomfortable. I think people want something fast easy and simple to use in a relaxed environment with staff that seem to care and can approach all walks of life. They could offer services like their new banking scheme's and their existing services such as sending packages and supplying forms. Why cant they extend there service into maybe providing internet so people can fill out forms online in store, or access there Post Office account online.

They also have to makes sure that every community can have these services including the remote parts of the UK that are forever under fear that their Post Office is going to be closed, Everyone pays their tax so why cant everyone receive the same services.

There is a whole range of different opportunities that the Post Office can explore to change its service design and target market.

The only thing is trying to make CWU realize that the world is a changed place and there is no room for strikes when there is mass unemployment and a changing market place. These postmen cannot forget that they are replaceable as Royal Mail takes on 30,000 part time staff and 85,000 people applied. This alone shows how replaceable they are. I hope that these strikes have not done too much damage to this service that Britain has relied on for centuries to deliver our mail. Can Royal Mail crush the CWU union and carry on and change for the future. This is one question only time will be able to tell.

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