Mail backlog

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.



  1. Postman Harry said

    We do not strike to create a backlog, nor do we wish to inconvenience people. What we do want is for the RM to honour the agreements thrashed out when we hauled them to the negotiating table last time.

    As for overtime, i already work overtime everyday, turning up 90 minutes before my official start time (which is 90 minutes later than when i first started due to HM Gov’t wantintg to bring us into line with Europe and therefore making a sell off easier. No wonder people complain about 60% of the post being delivered in the afternoon) Why? Because there arent enough staff to ensure my walk is prepared prior to me starting my deliveries.

    The last backlog wasnt cleared due to our depot working overtime, just harder. Any other mail service that processes it should actually deliver it too but they wont do that will they? No, its not profitable, which is why we take delivery of mail downstream from the likes of UK Mail et al at a fraction of the profit.

    The liberalisation of the mail was ham-fisted and benefitted no-one but other businesses.


  2. ann said

    Before you start slagging off the postmen maybe you should find out the facts.
    Royal mail and the union agreed a contract in 2007 stating that they would JOINTLY agree a way to introduce new machinary and new deliveries.
    In June this year royal mail ripped up the agreement and decided to go it alone and dictate how they done this.
    For a start the new machinery never arrived and they decided to cut 13 deliveries in N1,changed the times of attendence from a 10 hour 20 minute four day week to a 8 hour five day week.
    So how can you do the same amount of work plus ‘an extra 2 streets’ as royal mail managers keep saying in a shorter working day?
    Answer – you cant!
    All of this came about because Adam Crosier and co. were convinced that the govenment were going to privatise the royal mail.
    Since then Royal mail have admitted the agreement was there but chose to ignore it causing the chaos thats happening now.
    Do you think that its fair to start bullying the workforce because the system they put in place is failing and doesn’t work? threatning people with withholding their pay? Suspending people because they do the job properly?
    What about the way they are now attempting to clear the backlog – bringing management into offices from all over the country, putting them up in swanky hotels, paying them £20 -£30 per hour in overtime, using black cabs to deliver mail in SW1, paying for return train tickets for £400, the list goes on.
    Not everyone wants overtime but remember this is a company who made record profits last year, and pays Crosier £2 million a year (without bonus), and claims they are struggling.
    All we want is the agreements that they signed upto honored….

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