Postal workers fear axe as delivery firms hit the road

Witney Gazette: From left, postman Derek Clerkin, delivery office manager Scott Lovell, Steven Gill and postwoman Sam Prescott at Royal Mail’s Oxpens office. Picture:OX68165 Cliff Hide Buy this photo From left, postman Derek Clerkin, delivery office manager Scott Lovell, Steven Gill and postwoman Sam Prescott at Royal Mail’s Oxpens office. Picture:OX68165 Cliff Hide

HUNDREDS of postal workers could lose their jobs and several post offices could close across Oxfordshire if private delivery firms start competing for Royal Mail business.

The warning comes from union officials and Royal Mail management, who say the move could also mean the end of six-day-a-week and next-day services, with rural households being billed on a pence-per-mile basis for their post.

They accuse new entrants, such as TNT Post, of ‘cherry picking’ by delivering only to cities and towns, leaving Royal Mail with more expensive-to-serve rural areas. But TNT denies the firm is a threat.

Officials from the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) in Oxford claim the amount of mail handled by Royal Mail could fall by a quarter, putting up to 250 jobs across the county at risk.

CWU representative Steven Gill, based at Royal Mail’s Oxford delivery office, in Oxpens Road, said: “In London, Manchester and Liverpool the effect of competition from TNT is noticeable.

“If this was to happen in Oxford it could mean job losses here, so there is a lot of worry among postal workers.

“Once those jobs go the damage is done and it will be irreversible.”

And sub-postmaster Neil MacCormack, who runs Wheatley Post Office, says any changes will backfire on post offices like his.

He said: “It is true that rural postal workers have to cover a greater area.

“They walk up and down farm tracks up to a mile long, while in town one person could deliver 300 letters to one block of apartments in one go.

“If anything changed a large number of rural post offices, including my own, would be in jeopardy.”

Royal Mail must deliver to all 29 million homes in the UK every day except Sunday under the “universal service offer”, but private firms are free to deliver just twice or three times a week.

TNT Post operates in London, Manchester and Liverpool and aims to extend its reach to almost half of UK households, which is likely to include Oxford, by 2017.

It has also snatched lucrative business contracts with major players such as Centrica and Vision Express from Royal Mail.

Coming against a background of long-term decline in the number of letters being sent as people switch to email, there are fears the challenge from private providers could prove the last straw. Royal Mail, which was privatised last September, has called on industry regulator Ofcom to review the market.

But Nick Wells, chief executive of TNT Post, said: “TNT Post delivers less than one per cent of the mail in the UK and the regulator has repeatedly made clear that there is currently no threat to the financial stability of the universal service offer from plans from competitors to enter the UK delivery market.”

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2:19pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Quentin Walker says...

The Royal Mail workers are unsung heroes.
The Royal Mail workers are unsung heroes. Quentin Walker
  • Score: 4

2:42pm Thu 26 Jun 14

lozrob says...

if the RM was more competitive then the courier firms wouldnt pose a threat. we want a capitalist country then we complain when there is competition...
if the RM was more competitive then the courier firms wouldnt pose a threat. we want a capitalist country then we complain when there is competition... lozrob
  • Score: -2

2:50pm Thu 26 Jun 14

King Joke says...

Surely this happened twenty years ago? The parcels market was deregulated and private companies compete in this profitable sector, while RM are left with the universal carrier business which loses money. I can't see it working in the long term.
Surely this happened twenty years ago? The parcels market was deregulated and private companies compete in this profitable sector, while RM are left with the universal carrier business which loses money. I can't see it working in the long term. King Joke
  • Score: 5

3:25pm Thu 26 Jun 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

lozrob wrote:
if the RM was more competitive then the courier firms wouldnt pose a threat. we want a capitalist country then we complain when there is competition...
if RM wasn't so bogged down and controlled by wildcat unions that strike at every possible opportunity then they would be more competitive.
[quote][p][bold]lozrob[/bold] wrote: if the RM was more competitive then the courier firms wouldnt pose a threat. we want a capitalist country then we complain when there is competition...[/p][/quote]if RM wasn't so bogged down and controlled by wildcat unions that strike at every possible opportunity then they would be more competitive. yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: -6

4:20pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
lozrob wrote:
if the RM was more competitive then the courier firms wouldnt pose a threat. we want a capitalist country then we complain when there is competition...
if RM wasn't so bogged down and controlled by wildcat unions that strike at every possible opportunity then they would be more competitive.
It's harder to strike when you see the resultant drop in the shares you own in the company you work for.

Alex Salmond is planning on re-nationalising the postal service in Scotland when he achieves his dream of independence. This should significantly cut the cost of delivering to rural areas for the remaining Royal Mail - indeed, if Scotland remains part of Europe they'll be able to operate the most lucrative business in the larger cities there in competition with the nationalised Scottish service..
[quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]lozrob[/bold] wrote: if the RM was more competitive then the courier firms wouldnt pose a threat. we want a capitalist country then we complain when there is competition...[/p][/quote]if RM wasn't so bogged down and controlled by wildcat unions that strike at every possible opportunity then they would be more competitive.[/p][/quote]It's harder to strike when you see the resultant drop in the shares you own in the company you work for. Alex Salmond is planning on re-nationalising the postal service in Scotland when he achieves his dream of independence. This should significantly cut the cost of delivering to rural areas for the remaining Royal Mail - indeed, if Scotland remains part of Europe they'll be able to operate the most lucrative business in the larger cities there in competition with the nationalised Scottish service.. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -1

4:48pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Quentin Walker says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
lozrob wrote:
if the RM was more competitive then the courier firms wouldnt pose a threat. we want a capitalist country then we complain when there is competition...
if RM wasn't so bogged down and controlled by wildcat unions that strike at every possible opportunity then they would be more competitive.
It's harder to strike when you see the resultant drop in the shares you own in the company you work for.

Alex Salmond is planning on re-nationalising the postal service in Scotland when he achieves his dream of independence. This should significantly cut the cost of delivering to rural areas for the remaining Royal Mail - indeed, if Scotland remains part of Europe they'll be able to operate the most lucrative business in the larger cities there in competition with the nationalised Scottish service..
I think the Scots are too wily to vote for independence.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]lozrob[/bold] wrote: if the RM was more competitive then the courier firms wouldnt pose a threat. we want a capitalist country then we complain when there is competition...[/p][/quote]if RM wasn't so bogged down and controlled by wildcat unions that strike at every possible opportunity then they would be more competitive.[/p][/quote]It's harder to strike when you see the resultant drop in the shares you own in the company you work for. Alex Salmond is planning on re-nationalising the postal service in Scotland when he achieves his dream of independence. This should significantly cut the cost of delivering to rural areas for the remaining Royal Mail - indeed, if Scotland remains part of Europe they'll be able to operate the most lucrative business in the larger cities there in competition with the nationalised Scottish service..[/p][/quote]I think the Scots are too wily to vote for independence. Quentin Walker
  • Score: 2

12:58pm Fri 27 Jun 14

robbo81 says...

although there is no threat really. Currently Royal Mail has something like 1,400 hubs across the UK but TNT has about 10. In order to deliver the final mile you need a network of local hubs in cities and towns to send the post to once it has been sorted to that level.

So RM is more expensive because they have that infrastructure. TNT is cheaper as they do the easy stuff as noted. If they wanted to do final mile across the UK then they'd need hundreds of local hubs, once they've invested in that and staffed it surely their rates will need to increase, unless they can successfully automate large parts of the process.
although there is no threat really. Currently Royal Mail has something like 1,400 hubs across the UK but TNT has about 10. In order to deliver the final mile you need a network of local hubs in cities and towns to send the post to once it has been sorted to that level. So RM is more expensive because they have that infrastructure. TNT is cheaper as they do the easy stuff as noted. If they wanted to do final mile across the UK then they'd need hundreds of local hubs, once they've invested in that and staffed it surely their rates will need to increase, unless they can successfully automate large parts of the process. robbo81
  • Score: 0

5:56pm Sat 28 Jun 14

M1keez says...

yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
lozrob wrote:
if the RM was more competitive then the courier firms wouldnt pose a threat. we want a capitalist country then we complain when there is competition...
if RM wasn't so bogged down and controlled by wildcat unions that strike at every possible opportunity then they would be more competitive.
What a **** ! I've been a Postman 25 years . The last time we had strike was over 10 years ago . Those days have gone believe me .
[quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]lozrob[/bold] wrote: if the RM was more competitive then the courier firms wouldnt pose a threat. we want a capitalist country then we complain when there is competition...[/p][/quote]if RM wasn't so bogged down and controlled by wildcat unions that strike at every possible opportunity then they would be more competitive.[/p][/quote]What a **** ! I've been a Postman 25 years . The last time we had strike was over 10 years ago . Those days have gone believe me . M1keez
  • Score: 0

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