Royal Mail strike

2nd classToday the Royal Mail have asked us all not to use post boxes so as to avoid backlogs when the strikes are over. There will be no deliveries until next Thursday. My question: since it was privatised, and mail delivery has been opened up for competition, why does this affect me? Why can’t I just post a letter in a post box belonging to some Royal Mail rival?

UPDATE: Royal Mail was not privatised, but postal delivery was opened up to competition except for the last mile.

In the mean time, if you live near a nice old Post Office building and like using it: hurry up! Near me there’s one in Post Office Road — POST OFFICE ROAD! — that’s going to be closed when they move it into WHSmith. Has it really come to this?

77 Responses to “Royal Mail strike”

  1. tim says:

    Gary: thanks for setting me straight on Royal Mail not having been privatised: entirely my mistake.

    I’m sure strike action is never undertaken lightly.

  2. Tim says:

    I lose all sympathy for these employees when strike action directly effects the general public.

    The strike action will force more people away from RM and result in less business mail which i’m sure is where RM make their margins.

    What I don’t understand is that the RM staff are striking because of proposed changes to working conditions and pension benefits yet they also complain about the way in which the RM has been run for the last 200 years. In order to improve the way the RM is run, modernisation of working practices will undoubtably take place and unfortunantly jobs will be made redundant in the process. That is life i’m afraid at the moment and if you don’t enjoy your current job then go find another.

    Rant over.

  3. AnTiSoCiAl says:

    Its a bloody joke striking for a pay rise. Start at 5am and finnish at 12pm and no Second Post now anyway, what a nightmare job that must be having the full day ahead of you. Also get on busses free of charge its not as if they have to walk around in the pouring rain all day. Ive lost all sympathy for them now one day strikes are fine but when your buisness starts to suffer due to ongoing longer strikes. Heres an idea get rid of 1/2 the managers then see what pay rise can be given as private companys usualy have far to many of them anyway. This postal service has run for 200 years no need to too many managers anyway. If the workers dont like it then replace them as they are playing a dangerous game now a days due to us being in the EU people from all over europe can easily take there jobs for national minimum wage and be happy as a pig in sh**.

    Sack them all as the only people that are suffering is the general public.

  4. Craig says:

    these strikes are pointless and perthetic and help nobody! …i know someone who works at royal mail as a posty and he gets paid a damn good wage for the work he does. im currently unemployed and have tried to apply at royal mail for a job because the pay is pretty good for the work you do!.

    its stupid..if they dont like the amount there paid..QUIT! and get another job…work somewhere else!

    what happened to the postman delivering mail at 7:30am with a happy smile and polite manner..i miss those days

  5. Bob says:

    Personally I’m all for machine sorting and then getting rid of the redundant staff. Should have been done years ago. If this is done right it will results in cheaper operating costs and more money for wages/pensions of the employees left.

    Since the strike has ruined my postal delivery/sending I now have no sympathy for the workers and would gladly see them all sacked and replaced by people that actually give a toss (P.S. I would love to be on your wage as most people in the UK are on lower wage for longer hours)

    P.S. I thinks its great that RM delivers to all corners of the UK for the same price. (Maybe they should charge other companies more to deliver their mail on the last mile?)

  6. Gary says:

    20 years ago the job was Cushy, I’ve heard all the stories from the old timers. However the job has gone full circle with the advent of junk and business mail. Have you asked yourself how much mail you get now compared to 15 years ago? I’m guessing you rarely have days now where you don’t get any mail whereas then it was the other way round . The time given to do this work has not changed in 30 years yet the mail has probably gone up 20 fold.It’s a finite ammount of work to do, I can’t deliver to two doors at once, I can only get the van to do 100MPH, I can’t run with 35lbs on my back.
    Remember the fuss the unions kicked up in the sixties when managment tried to bring in “time and motion” men to improve efficiency? We have asked them to do this constantly.Royal Mail management refuse point blank to test postmens workload. what does that say to you?

    Not only is royal mail publicly owned but for years has remained profitable with the money made being taken directly by the treasury.This has left nothing to invest to make the business viable. All this while charging the lowest prices in Europe. So thats Profitable AND cheap. And thats inneficient is it?

    Please read the postmens Posts. Its NOT about a wage rise and to a certain extent most people accept that pensions have been screwed.

    This is about the destruction of a Service which the British public have used and trusted for over 200 years. We don’t stand a chance of winning this because the Government has deciced that it now has to be opened up to unfair competition. But we have to try.

    The universal service order(USO) which royal mail adheres to means everyone can post to any address in Britain for a uniform price. This has worked for years because the short distance mail has subsidised the long distance mail. This is at risk as never before because if the rivals keep taking the profit then Royal Mail wil not be able to keep going. Please note I said keep taking the profit and not taking the post because Royal Mail still delivers all letters to your home. The competition picks up the mail and gives it to us to deliver because Delivery has the highest costs in terms of infrastructure,vehicle costs and staff and is not as profitable as distribution. Thats why they don’t want it and never will.

    Some will not agree with this statement but I’m going to make it anyway and trust me as someone on the inside who see’s what is happening to the Service.

    You are REALLY going to miss it when its gone!

  7. Edwin says:

    Wouldn’t it be fantastic, if we were all in a position to hold our bosses and country to ransom, I’m sure most of us would jump to the picket line if we had the chance, (but not during winter) but imagine the state the country would be in. Even if RM staff have a valid point to do so, it is unethical and selfish to effect the innocent public….It’s almost terrorism.

  8. tim says:

    Gary: thanks for that comment and explanation. So it should never have been opened up to “competition” in the first place; and now that it has, it’s hard to see any way to undo it. 🙁

    About the increase in junk mail etc.: perhaps it’s worth mentioning the Mailing Preference Service. Anyone can register there to cut down the amount of unwanted junk email they get (and posties have to deliver).

  9. tim says:

    Edwin: you have the chance right now to strike, don’t you? Are you going to? I don’t think anyone takes that decision as lightly as you think.

    It’s nothing like terrorism at all.

  10. Nicola Brown says:

    Thank you Gary for clearing a few things up!
    Wow there is so much hate hail on here for Royal mail and so many delusions!
    Strike action was the last thing we wanted, I cannot afford to do it with a big moregage and bills! However I am striking, if you do not stand together you fall apart.
    People who think postal delivery is an easy job, I welcome you to walk a day in my shoes. The amount of people we take on that do not last the week as they cannot take the hard work is crazy. They either bring the mail back or some ditch it!
    It amuses me the amount of people who said they applied to work for Royal mail and couldnt get a job, does that not tell you something? You derride the posty and know nothing about what is really going on.
    Royal mail wants us to lose our early shift allowance, the money for door to doors and to work harder for less money.
    The people at my office start between 4-5 and finish between 1-3. It is a heavy, thankless job.
    I have recently been off with plantain ficicious due to walking too much and I was on crutches unable to weight bear! Agony. This is common in posties.
    Our delivery when we had a second delivery, which for your information consisted of about 25 letters (waste of time) was about 3 hours, now we deliver between 4-5 hours in all weather with 16kg bags on our bags, which now contain tnt, lynx mail, dhl, etc, etc.
    Oh and I would love to find another job, but it is not that easy, I have pride in my job and take care of the people I deliver to, going out of my way to help them.
    Only 4 years ago I was delivering mail as early as 7-8am and then the walks got bigger the workload bigger so it got later and later. This week the management start us on 6am starts instead of 5am, so do not be expected your mail before lunch!
    Blame the managment not the postie! Nicki x

  11. Wickyt says:

    Tim, Maybe it’s not terrorism in convential terms but they are holding the country to ransom over this. It is us who are affected by the delays and as a previous poster mentioned, cashflow for some businesses will be a real struggle.

    And whereas you are right in saying we could strike, I know that if told my boss I was going on strike he would say, OK here’s your P45. I’d hazard a guess and state that the majority of UK employees are not part of a Union and cannot hide behind them like RM staff, Prison Wardens etc.

    RM staff have a right to voice their opinions however to strike hits the impacts ordinary citizens who have paid for a service that is not being carried out.

  12. Paul says:

    Lets all go on strike….

    It is selfish action with total disregard for others. Whilst Royal Mail may not be a threat to life as the firefighters strike was a few years ago, I’m sure many of the staff don’t genuinely realise the effect that it has upon other businesses and subsequently their employees.

    Whether the strike action is around pay or conditions, there are alternatives. Why should Royal Mail staff be allowed to hold the country to ransom?

    Let the army go on strike and leave no one defending the country, or the police so we have total disorder. Maybe the teachers fancy a week off! I’m sure they too feel overworked and underpaid. Why don’t those RM employees think of the consequences of this? Who will look after your kids? Will you have to take time off unpaid? Oh, maybe they will have a couple of days off the following week (or maybe not, but the irritation of not knowing and the havoc that it will play on your life will be just as annoying). What about the supermarkets? Let all the employees go on strike, so there is no food on the shelves for a week.

    Whilst I appreciate some of those examples are unlawful, I’m sure you get the idea.

    For all those Royal Mail employees reading this…

    Who applied for the job? YOU
    If you don’t want it, then resign, and give someone who really wants or needs a job the opportunity to earn some money.

    Nobody is disputing the unsociable hours that you work, or that you walk miles and miles and get sore feet, but again who applied for the job? YOU. YOU chose to accept the job and conditions when they were offered to you.

    I’m sure it is always ‘the manager’s fault’, but holding any company to ransom is just selfish, and those who do so do not consider the impact on others.

    To some it is just a bit of post or a late birthday card, to others it can bring a business to it’s knees or impact college / univesity studies or make bill payments late, which can lead to further financial punishments.

    And now there’s talk of a weeklong walkout. Impressive people, really impressive. Why don’t you throw the rest of your toys out of the pram while you are at it.


  13. Gary says:

    Yeh Great . Standard reply “get another job” Really constructive.

    Quote “YOU. YOU chose to accept the job and conditions when they were offered to you.”

    Yes thats right I chose those terms and conditions when I took the job. No-one is complaining about that. It’s the unachievable new terms and conditions being forced upon us we’re not happy about.

    I struggled with the decision to strike. I apologised to all my customers last week and tried to explain why to a few of them.
    To be honest reading the posts on here and elsewhere has really eased my conscience. I now just don’t care

  14. Richard says:

    Sorry to upset the applecart – I don’t know too much about it but I’m on the postie’s side! You couldn’t pay me enough to do the work those postmen do and they rarely get any thanks for it. The impression that I’m getting that the powers-that-be want to make the workload for them even heavier is unthinkable!

  15. Michael says:

    In answer to all those who seem to thing that this strike is entirely the work of the postal workers union (CWU) this is far from the case. The union offered to negotiate a mutually acceptable deal, without any strikes, Alan Leyton declined. In fact he vowed that he would never talk at all, he would simply impose his will on Royal Mail staff.

    It took a month of strikes before he finally accepted the unions offer to meet and its unilateral offer to cease industrial action while the talks went on. After five weeks of meetings, in which considerable progress was made, the management decided to return to imposing it plans on its staff. And issued a proposal for changes in working practice that would put Royal Mail staff on similar employment terms to those you would find in a third world sweatshop.

    These plans included changes in start times, in an industry that large numbers of people work for no other reason than the unusual start and finish times are fundamental to how they live their lives. The most common reason being sharing child care between partners. But others, like me, use the early start/finish times to allow us to attend college.

    What’s more, they weren’t just planning on moving to later starts, they were also planning to remove the idea of a set start time at all. You would start when told, on 24 hours notice. You would finish when told, on 24 hours notice. And if there was too much work to get done by the time you were set, you were expected to work overtime till it was done, with refusal to work overtime being punishable by sacking. The plans also include changes to pension arrangements that would cost an estimated £56,000 per person. Not surprisingly, the strikes resumed.

    To my mind the union and its members have shown admirable restraint throughout this process. The strikes were reluctantly undertaken and the last resort of a workforce desperate to maintain the balance of their lives.

  16. Kimp says:

    It’ amazes me how little it takes some you for your lives to be disrupted, yet you won’t give a toss at something that really matters. The guys from RM won’t get paid for those days of strike either, if they do then there is problem. In the end they’re also losing money.The real difference is that they’ve had the balls to do it!

    At the end of the day I am glad to see that some Brits are left with a bit of dignity and won’t accept everything thrown at them, we need to see more strikes from everyone. I can honestly not believe how RM workers are being flamed on this board, just because some are losing money or for whatever silly reasons (buy the way, this is what governments expect you to do. It’s a lot harder to say something about your council taxes because then they put you in jail, with murderers and drug dealers). Money is all over the world, if there is something the world lacks of it’s anything but money. Oh and by the way what do we need that money for? Buy a HD TV? Come on what’s wrong with analog ones? A dual core computer? Why don’t you go to the charity shop and buy that old Pentium 3, run Linux on it and learn how to use real software that makes the most of your hardware? Or is it to pay your taxes? In the last case, look what your taxes are used for, bomb Iraq and so on. Is the air in London cleaner since they’ve introduced the congestion charge? Perhaps if Royalmail went on strike every week when they introduced the C charge, people wouldn’t have to empty their pockets for no reasons so much.

    Brown has already canceled the elections and no one has moved a little finger on that matter. This is not a really good start, what’s coming next, a dictatorship? And what if Royalmail goes on strike again because every Royalmail worker wants to have an election, what would you flamers say in this case?

    Take example, learn something, follow their steps. Pay attention and say something! Just not against the ones who strike.

  17. muhammad says:

    i just wanted to say that i am totally in favour of the RM workers but would like to point out that this strike action would never be carried out at chrismas time. so why is alright to do it now when eid could be tomorrow and i have still not received any gifts i have bought for my family and freinds. remember there are almost 2 million muslims in this country and a large amount of their eid will be ruined by this i said you should stand up for yourselves but choose your timings carefully and a full week strike is a joke why not space them out.that way you still get your point accross but keep disruption to the public minimal.muhammad

  18. Yann says:

    Why the hell being part of the Royal Mail entitle you to go on strike while your role is so critical? Why does anyone accept it? FS! These people shall be fired and it’s nothing harsh. Do my employer care I can’t work because I didn’t get my internet connection? Not the least and it’s well normal and I spend my day boucing from a cofee to another spending a fortune working in awfull conditions. It’s been 2 weeks no mail gets in Edinburgh.

    Sick of these people who apologise in advance because they so know how wrong they will do. Being a mailman is not a bloody vocation! I bet they can qualify for being parking attendant too.

    On the other hand, I’ll now curse and disqualify any supplier who use Royal Mail for their deliveries. Where courage and sacrifice is required to face competition, the staff chose suicide and they are doing such a goood job!

  19. Tet says:

    You gotta do what you gotta do right? I mean, if this is what your striking for, the 24 hour notice thing and the working overtime until you finish your deliveries, then ok, I understand why you strike.

    But then again, you’re getting paid better than ALOT of people. From what I see in sorting offices and delivery offices, RM is really understaffed – so since you’re getting paid a better percentage than alot of other more “stressful” jobs, maybe it would be better to lower your pay percentage and add more staff so that you don’t have heavy loads of mail put upon you and therefore you got the “striking because they want us to work until we’ve done all of what we needed to do” out of the way!

    I heard on the news that RM wants its employees to work the full hours they’re set out to work, meaning if you’re done doing one thing and you’ve got 30 minutes left to work, you go and actually work for those 30 minutes instead of going home early? Is this the case?

    I am royally pissed off just like half the people here about not knowing if/when mail is going to be delivered. I buy lots of stuff off ebay and I’m waiting on a Halloween costume – it’s stressful, but not as stressful for the business that rely on mail. But like I said at the beginning – people are going to do what they’re going to do….

    By the way, the strikes supposedly stopped Wednesday at noon, but it’s now Thursday at 5:26 p.m. and I never received any mail yesterday or today 🙁

  20. John says:

    When I was on a management course at Lancaster University many years ago it was pointed out how hugely incompetent large companies must be when they suddenly discover they have ‘problems’ and suddenly seek to make changes like large scale redundancies or changes in practices. Any competent management system should be addressing the changing needs of a large company and its marketplace on a daily basis. I am pretty sure successful companies like Tesco and M & S do this. So how incompetent must Royal Mail management be when it has had 200 years to get its act together with its workforce and become the master of its marketing issues. It really beggars belief. How on earth as this position come about?