Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why Post Office Workers Should Strike

Apparently one of the reasons for post office workers voting on strike action is the outrageous demand from management that post office staff should work five day weeks, eight hours a day. How very dare they.

47 comments:

Thomas Rossetti said...

What exactly do these striking postal workers think they're going to achieve? The volume of mail is down because everyone users email these days. It is therefore not unreasonable that there should be redundancies.

Do these strikers think everyone's going to say, "Those poor fellows at Royal Mail are suffering in terribly harsh conditions: I'd better stop using email and start writing to people again"?

Half The Story said...

Why do we never see the full details of the demands on both sides.

To be fair the C&W union leader came across well on TV, but we get broadbrush strokes on info.

Perhaps they should do a Reagan, and sack the lot, and hire from the 2.4m unemployed?

Phil said...

Pay them by the hour.

Phil said...

pay them by the hour

Anonymous said...

Provided that's accurate........that's not going to work out overly well is it?

Philipa said...

And, as one given to adult responses, this is all you have to say on the matter, Iain?

http://cityunslicker.blogspot.com/2009/09/winter-of-discontent.html

Anonymous said...

Our last postman delivered our son's passport to a house three quarters of a mile away,regularly delivered wrong mail to us and could not string a sentence of English together.
Now they are complaining about actually having to work!

Why is it that all these union leaders speak with a scouse accent?

Do you want me to tell you why - they don't mind dishing it out but by heck they can't take it themselves.

Anonymous said...

Please explain more is it change from 4 10 hour shifts .Why is it being done why will it improve service .we are all grown ups explain.

Anonymous said...

It's not about volume if mail, itsabout a change in working conditions. Volume of mail may be down in total, but back in the early eighties each postman had one bag of mail a day to deliver, now it is 8. The Royal Mail clai mpostmen are making time on their day and finishing erly. This is simply not the case, maybe some of the management should come "back to the floor" for a while, if they can make time, then maybe the postpeople might consider it.

Penfold said...

Post Office workers must realise that the reasons for change are to protect and secure the future of Royal Mail.
The reasons for change are manifest, but the major is the compliance with EU directives which has forced Royal Mail into a competitive marketplace. A marketplace which has seen profitable parts of the business seized by outside competitors who do not have to offer a universal postal service and run post offices around the country. Additionally we have seen a government that has covertly been syphoning off business and services that was the traditional preserve of the Post Office/Royal Mail monopoly.

The unions should direct their invective at Labour who have presided over the dismemberment of the service and have been very mealy-mouthed about their role, a very active role indeed, and take note of the influence of the EU which has precipitated their problems.

Chris said...

@Rossetti

"Those poor fellows at Royal Mail are suffering in terribly harsh conditions: I'd better stop using email and start writing to people again"?"

Yep. And then they expect you to pay at least double the rate to maintain their jobs.

Does anyone know of a socialist regime that hasn't, in the end, bankrupted the entire nation?

David Lindsay said...

An EU directive requires full competition in postal services by 2012, so that the Royal Mail must deliver its competitors' letters as if they were its own First Class ones, yet for less than the price of First Class post. This necessitates cuts, both in postmen's pay and in Post Offices. The pay cuts have already led to strikes, of which there will be more. So, is anyone out there still saying that the EU is Socialist?

Meanwhile, that the "free" marketeers seriously proposed privatising something nationalised by Charles II in 1660, and representing the most significant direct link between the monarchy and every household, business, organisation and institution in the land, indicates just how utterly unconservative the "free" market ideology really is.

Neoliberal economics, a total disregard for our heritage and institutions, and European federalism: all of a piece, of course.

This is a cause to unite those who believe in public services, in strong unions, and in rural communities with those, very largely the same people, who believe in national sovereignty (both as against the EU and as against the foreign acquisition of a key national asset), in the monarchy's direct link to every address in the country, and in rural communities. Together, we can save our Post Office. No less than the social, cultural and political arguments, the economic arguments are on our side. Now we just need to get our people into Parliament. For that, we need money and organisation.

Over to the CWU, I feel. After all, Billy Hayes is the sort of trade union leader who ends up in the House of Lords, or did in better days. One rather hopes that he will. It really has come to something when a man who helped Peter Kilfoyle to defeat Militant in Liverpool Walton is now branded “Loony Left” (although of the Myth of Militant, another time) for seeking to defend national sovereignty, rural communities and the monarchy’s direct link to every address in the land, against someone who has never said that his own Communist past was wrong at the time.

And speaking both of the House of Lords and of Mandelson, that House now has the opportunity to add to the Salisbury Conventions (there are in fact two, named after two different Salisburys) the Mandelson Convention: that it rejects any measure that the governing party had promised in its manifesto not to enact. Such as Post Office privatisation.

Little Orphan Annie said...

At the risk of sounding like Little Orphan Annie , I delivered the Christmas Post as a 16 year old schoolgirl. It was a popular way to earn Christmas money at the time. After I'd walked 3 miles in the snow to the post office sorting office at 4.30am I was given two gigantic mailbags( there were no trollies in those days) that probably were as heavy as me and told not to come back before 3pm. I'd usually delivered everything by 11 o'clock so spent the rest of the day in a coffee bar with the rest of the temporary postmen. So don't let today's namby pamby postmen tell anyone its a difficult job.

I thought then, and I think now, that someone wants to buy/sell the post office and the postmen are being duped into providing the justification for a grubby commercial transaction. The government hopes that once we've all reached the end of our tethers we'll agree to Lord Mandelson's sell-off plan.

Russell said...

If the post "workers" really think people will abandon email and go back to communicating by making marks on folded pieces of tree they're on a hiding to nothing.

Similar thinking now seems to have afflicted the guys at the Spectator magazine, which has abruptly withdrawn its entire content from the internet in the misguided belief that people who were used to reading it for free online will now go back to buying preprinted folded pieces of tree. Or, even more weirdly, visiting the website to subscribe, so that the pieces of tree can be pushed through their letterboxes (DV) by the aforementioned post "workers".

Talk about trying to turn the clock back. A disastrously retrograde, misjudged decision, in both instances. The post "workers" had better watch out postboxes don't become museum pieces, while Fraser Nelson had better watch out he doesn't end up as the last editor of the Spectator.

Uncle Bob said...

If they don't want to work a five day week then why don't they quit. I will happily take their job, ungrateful bastards.

Anonymous said...

I think that they'll be no post for you any more Iain.

Mwwwhahahahahahah.

Lady Finchley said...

Really, except for packages I rarely use them - I e-mail and pay bills online. Even packages these days are delivered by courier services. Dinosaurs!

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to work out why they are striking, however it may well be that 10 hours a day for 4 days is better in some circumstances that 8 hours for 5.

Anonymous said...

Five day week, eight hour days - that's an novel idea some GPs might find challenging too.

Thomas Rossetti said...

@ Chris (2:21pm)

Thanks for your comment.

They're having the same discussions about the US Postal Service over here in America. Thankfully no-one is talking about strike action, though.

I recently had a conversation with a man whose hours as a mail sorter at a government department in DC had recently been reduced. He said that the amount of mail had gone down over the years and that "if it continues like that they'll need less and less of us." I sympathised with him, but how can it possibly not continue to go down?

Anonymous said...

Well let's look at the Post Office.

The number of managers has increased the number of sorters and postmen decreased.

The senior managers have received large bonuses and pay rises, the front line workers haven't.

In this case I side with postie, the Post Office has suffered the same disease as everything else touch by labour.

Stronghold Barricades said...

I would challenge any manager to actually go into a sorting office and view how the Royal mail works (or doesn't)

How it has struggled with out dated machinery, and removed labour saving devices to protect jobs. How mail now goes by road instead of rail

Why don't the workers in the Post Office want to modernise?

Paul Halsall said...

Meanwhile, how much focus are Tory blogs directing at current bankers' bonuses? Zero. Why not: because Tories love rich people and hate poor people.

Siberian Tory said...

@Rossetti

I know they must be insane. By doing this they'll drive more people and businesses towards new technology.

Still at least it'll be another one of those living dead, hold the public to ransom unions neutered.

That's right Turkeys vote for Christmans!

Stevo Bevo said...

If your post gets delivered to the wrong address by someone who can't speak English, that's the result of demanding that competition be introduced everywhere regardless of whether it makes sense.

If you want to slash costs, spread competition and cut employment rights in the name of a flexible economy, you can't whine if the Post Office ends up employing cheap agency labour who don't know the job instead of old fashioned reliable posties who know their round.

jblabour said...

Care to source that, Iain?

Alex said...

Sorry, my comment is in the post. When it arrives, please copy it down and post it in the comments. Alternatively, you could copy it onto postcards and post it to all your readers.

Iain Dale said...

jblabour, A guy called Martin, representing the CWU, was on Bacon last night just before midnight explaining the reasons for going on strike. This was one of them. have a listen on iPlayer.

Matthew Dear said...

I still think that the best action postal workers could take is to announce that they will deliver anything WITHOUT a stamp on - people and businesses are still able to operate and don't get annoyed with the unions, whilst Royal Mail are deprived of revenue.

Not that I subscribe a single jot or tittle or their complaints...

Cynic said...

The fundamental problem is that the postal business is in sharp decline. It cannot survive in its present form withot massive restructing and changes in the service and Gordon doesn't want to do that becasue of the political fall out and the fact that it will annoy the bruvvers who subsidise the Party which is even more broke than UK Plc.

The only alternative then is subsidy. But we are broke, so Gordon needs to find new sources of revenue.

What about an email tax, for example? Let's say 1p per email to be paid into a fund to support struggling posties and their union colleagues. What an election winner.

Then there's that breathing thing. Everyone's at it and it's all free at point of delivery.

So first, with new technology, we can introduce breathometers to measure how much people breath and charge them by unit volume. We can even package it as an egalitarian and progressive tax as old grannies probably use a lot less air than fit young economically active people.

Then, after a decent interval, we can sell off control of the right to breathe to the private sector, solve the deficit problem and make a few bob on the side as Non Executive Directors of the new Air Companies.

Simples

pluralprogressive said...

I know for a fact that posties work far longer hours than they currently are contracted for. My father is a manager in Royal Mail, two of my uncles are posties, as were my two grandfathers. All of them work nights, my father worked 36 hours straight the other day such is the threat of managers losing their jobs that they know they have to work hard to keep hold of it. Whilst my father would prefer his staff not to strike as it would make his job a whole lot easier if they didn't, he knows full well why they are striking.

The CWU is striking to protect jobs and the quality of the service. Anyone who thinks that the part-privatisation of Royal Mail would have been a fantastic idea has some thinking to do. The Government had already signed the contract for the part-privatisation of the sale before they had even made their plans public (TNT were the part-buyer). The CWU knows that if jobs are lost it means that those that retain them will have to work twice as hard for a few pence increase in their wage as a result. The postal service is already stretched with most posties taking on two or three rounds per day because the service is not employing anyone at present, and the ammount of sick days posties take as a result of working extra hours with unsociable shifts. The real cost is the toll on the quality of life for most post workers because of the nature of their work.

I can't believe there are people on this blog saying redunancies are reasonable. Redunancies never are reasonable because unemployment is never reasonable. If the Tories will do Labour's dirty work for them when they get in then I dread to think of the toll it would have on members of my family.

niconoclast said...

Management should go Postal and er fire the lot.These public servant parasites seem to think they are running the show.They are employees.They don't get to determine employment rules and policy.The fact that they have a thuggish Marxist Union egging them on and exploiting their semi monopoly is one more reason why privatisation beckons.Is it too much to expect that the Tories will grasp this nettle if they are elected?

vedette said...

Anonymous said
The number of managers has increased the number of sorters and postmen decreased.

Is this why the mail for our, quite small, street is usualy delivered by the local sorting office manager at wildly variable timesa of day?

Bill Quango MP said...

Iain you fall into the media trap.

Post Office workers are not, and never have gone on strike.Not ever.
Post Offices are private businesses with contracts to handle goods for Royal Mail. most sub postmasters work 46-50 hours {mon-sat} a week + more if they have retail sides like off licence or convenience stores.
The 12,500 Post offices receive a £150 million grant from the taxpayer{rebated from the EU} so that's £12,000 to run the office and employ the staff and all the other stuff.

Royal Mail is a public corporation, owned solely by the government. Royal Mail postal workers are going on strike over pay and conditions having failed to get meaningful agreements with the management at the end of strikes in 2007.

The public is already confused - Don't make it worse.

Its like saying that the payroll and HR staff at Transport for London are responsible for tube strikes.

Anonymous said...

When I worked in the parcel sorting section of GUS in the 1970s we were paid eight hours normal rate plus four hours 'guaranteed overtime'. This came to slightly more than my 25yo teacher friends earned.

We were allowed to go home when the day's intake was sorted and loaded. With the exception of a couple of months before Christmas when incoming loads were backed up in the yard and we worked 5*12 per week, we usually got to go home before the eight hours were up. Occasionally we got held back waiting for a delayed incoming load.

Didn't half promote team working among the dozen of us. Only complaints that management ever got came if the belts slowed down. If we thought it would get us out earlier we'd take a vote on skipping our late break. No point in sitting in the canteen for 30 minutes then going back to do ten minutes work.

Working practices during the Christmas rush were rather different:steady, rule-bound and much more confrontational.

Allan said...

This from the company that pay's it's CEO & Chairman a combined £6.5 million per annum...

Anonymous said...

I worked for the royal mail for a short time, the induction day was a joy to behold, a 2 hour session about diversity, when even the facilitators couldn't properly explain what this was all about and what it had to do with sorting letters and then putting them through a letter box..

charles said...

@ Russell

Why should you be able to enjoy the Spectator for free? I am no view on their commercial decision, but they have every right not to give their product away.

Anonymous said...

As a stock trader i have been using a telephone / paper stockbroker. I will now trade online to avoid losing out on correspondence. By striking the staff are ensuring that the decline in the use of postal services speeds up. how sad

Anonymous said...

Birthday card sent first class on August 19th. never arrived. Got some post today, mostly junk but one dated 9th. Sept. I largely use email too but right now I am desperately waiting for a letter of great importance to me and don't know if it is lying in a sorting office somewhere and it is causing me terrible stress but what can I do. Not much sympathy from me.

Cynic said...

I was a great supporter of the Post office until we startd a business. Now a full 3%-5% of mail sent by us just vanishes and its hard anymore to be bothered if they go

JPT said...

I'm a postal worker and the truth is (and the crux of the problem) that we have to work an eight hour shift and probably three or four days a week in order to absorb a heavy workload we are forced (yes FORCED) to work on over our shifts ending time by up to three hours and not paid extra for it.
We are NOT salaried workers we are paid by the hour and if we put in compulsory overtime (illegal by the way) we should be paid for it.
When we ask for extra pay for the extra hours we have worked we are told 'you know where the Job Centre is if you don't like it'.
This is happening in every office every day.
As I say this treatment of workers is illegal akin to a third world sweat shop economy which of course is what we are becoming.
When they've broken us (which they surely will) who will they come for next??
You Mr Dale?
Would you work for my pay?
Would you work for nothing as we are?

Anonymous said...

Somebody please take over the Royal Mail because who ever is running it cannot manage people. End of! The 'poor' Royal Mail workers....my behind. 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, welcome to the real world guys. Just get on with your work as you are dealing with other peoples belongings, consider that.

If you think the pay is crap, then try to find another job. you decided to become a Post Office Worker, the pay has always been reknown for being low.

Due to this stupid strike, i have lost 4 parcels equating to £1000. sure the insurance covers them but they were sentimental goods, thanks to you guys. So do everyone a favour and get on with what you are employed to do, Post.

Anonymous said...

Absolute bunch of lazy [insert your own term here - mine's too rude to be published].
Should be happy you've got a job.
Lazy, Lazy, Lazy....and whilst I'm at it...GREEDY.

Anonymous said...

Getting paid to only work 8 hours a day but having to do more than there contracted hours!!!

This is some thing that most people in most jobs who are working for a company wanting to keep going have to do every day, My contract is for 7.5 hours a day. I start work at 07:30 and finish at 19:00 almost every day, I do this just to get my work load done. so that I know my bit is being done to keep the company afloat. this way I will have a job next year.

many people are waiting for important documents to be sent via the post (just about one of the only reasons any one would juse the royal mail today). All you are doing is getting every one angry with your silly little winge...

Anonymous said...

They are LAZY. I know someone who regularly brags about finishing rounds early, then going to his mates to play PS3...
The real reason for striking by the way is because they have all worked out that not turning up creates a HUGE amount of overtime - which surprise surprise - they all volunteer for and get paid extra. So they end up with a day off and extra money - they are onto a winner.
LAZY LAZY GREEDY *****. No sympathy from me. If you dont like it - join the jobcentre queue. There are millions of people without jobs who will do YOURS without the whinging and moaning. Now STFU.

Anonymous said...

I am sympathetic to the postmen mainly because I have recently left a job where the mis-management skills seem strangely similar (HMRC) where more and more work is demanded of underpaid and undervalued "jobholders". This style if management (or enforcement as it should be called) is made possible by the weakening of the unions, the imbalance should be redressed. The unsympathetic comments can only come from people who have no idea what it's like being employed within this type of regime. Support the posties!