I’m still catching up with my post-conference mail, on top of writing up notes from conference itself.
But my mail backlog is nothing compared to that reported to be building up following the recent spate of Royal Mail strikes in London and elsewhere. This is particularly bad news for small businesses, depending on orders and payments in the post.
According to the BBC, unions are claiming that the mail backlog may never be cleared, and are demanding overtime to do the work themselves. Now, I want my post as much as anyone: but this strikes me as barmy blackmail. First you go on strike to create a backlog: then you demand extra pay to clear it? I don’t think so. Especially when there are more strikes to come. Assuming the postal ballots arrive….
In a world where all of us are tightening our belts, and jobs are scarcer than for years, it’s arrogant of some (not all) mail workers to try and hold postal service users to ransom.
If the backlog cannot be cleared through regular work, then it’s reasonable to treat it as a separate job and get temporary or agency staff in to clear it. Or even ship it to another mail service for processing.
The Royal Mail has a contract with its customers, all of us, and must deliver our mail. They need to take some responsibility for sorting out this mess, without rewarding the people who disrupted services in the first place. Someone – ACAS or the Department for Business – needs to bang heads together to make sure we don’t get such problems in future. Or there won’t be a viable Royal Mail at all.
Don’t expect our local Labour MP Emily Thornberry to agree. She’s sponsored by the Communications Workers Union, which explains why she appears to be backing their calls for a blackmail bonus. Labour like to use the slogan ‘On Your Side’. But not if you’re waiting for your post to arrive.