Thursday, October 08, 2009

 

'Ere We Go 'Ere We Go Again

I've always been a supporter of trade unions. Without them there would be no Labour Party and pay and conditions for working people would be infinitely worse than they are. But the Communications Worker's proposed strike fills me with a dreadful foreboding that they are displaying the very worst aspect of self destructive union activity.

The Royal Mail is a fine institution delivering our letters in all weathers and, in my experience, with a friendly cheerfulness I have always appreciated. But the business is clearly failing. The internet is reducing the amount of letters we send but increasing the amount of parcels. Because practices are out of date, the Mail is losing custom to private agencies which are becoming ever more efficient; the Mail is sliding into impotent irrelevance.

Mandelson tried to introduce a part privatisation to inject capital to improve efficiency and reduce the shortfall in the pension fund. Labour MPs foiled that sensible objective and the dispute over reorganisation has now reached a crisis which will lead to strikes which in turn will only weaken the business yet further. As Christmas approaches postal workers need not assume the public will be on their side either.

It seems aas if the real culprits are local union militants who are determined to frustrate centrally negotiated agreements as they apply to local areas. In consequence huge piles of mail are building up in urban sorting offices all over the country. Amazon has had enough and has terminated its £25m contract with the Mail. Others will surely follow. The shortsightedness of union activity whereby they are destroying the service they claim to be protecting is quite tragic and hearkens back to the unionism of the seventies.

Comments:
61,000 vote for strike. That's one hell of a lot of "local union militants" or gullible shortsighted posties.

The public being on their side did sweet FA for the miners, so they needn't worry about that aspect. As usual though, there are two sides to every story and you, Bill, only appear to be aware of one. No mention of a belligerent aggressive management refusing to consult or involve the elected representatives, I note.

Also, Amazon has not terminated its contract with Royal Mail (again, that story was fed to the media by the management). Amazon have confirmed they have been diversifying their parcel deliveries based on the weight of envelopes.
 
61,000 vote for strike. That's one hell of a lot of "local union militants" or gullible shortsighted posties.

The public being on their side did sweet FA for the miners, so they needn't worry about that aspect. As usual though, there are two sides to every story and you, Bill, only appear to be aware of one. No mention of a belligerent aggressive management refusing to consult or involve the elected representatives, I note.

Also, Amazon has not terminated its contract with Royal Mail (again, that story was fed to the media by the management). Amazon have confirmed they have been diversifying their parcel deliveries based on the weight of envelopes.
 
This story is brilliant. Haha loved the spin on the Amazon story. Haven't laughed as much in ages. Naive ain't the word.

Let the unions bring it on. It will solve all our problems at once. It will push the Royal Mail closer to full privatisation - and be clear, such a service in the private sector is inevitable(anybody who thinks the UK Government will have enough money to subsidise these fossils has a misunderstanding of economics or mathematics...or both in some cases). Then jobs can be rationalised to reflect the new reality(fewer letters = fewer staff see?), away from political pressure. And the public will blame them for their Christmas cards not getting there on time(the unions as scrooge, June 2010 as Christmas Future).

Everyone's a winner. The public get rid of a silly loss making industry. The consumer gets a better service. The union takes a hiding. And Labour get even more humped in the election than they would have done. God Bless the CWU(21st century's useful idiots).

Still, Billy Hayes will be OK. £97647 a year is alright for a postman isn't it?
 
In fairness to the CWU, I think the big reason why everyone in the RM is getting so militant is because they've been treated so badly by management for so long. Due to staff shortages, working hours are too long, pay hasn't kept pace with inflation due to financial problems, pensions are under pressure and morale is shot to hell. Moreover, RM keeps randomly selecting sorting offices for closure, then changing their minds and reprieving them, earmarking somewhere else, so everybody is on the jump about job security (a friend of mine lost his job over all this confusion, by being refused a transfer he needed for health reasons on the grounds the place he would be transferred to was about to close. It was then reprieved, but he was sacked anyway for taking too many days off sick).

That said, this could be a disaster for the Royal Mail and the Union. Unfortunately, without fighting over it things won't get better at management level, and the more management and workers fight, the more customers will "diversify" out of Royal Mail and make things worse. What a horrible conundrum for this once great institution.
 
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