Defend our Royal Mail and Post Offices

The Royal Mail deliver on unprofitable routes that private firms would not, yet government and opposition demand they produce the same profits as private businesses which cherry-pick the most profitable business. Royal Mail are legally obliged to deliver on behalf of private firms who take the profit. Demanding Royal Mail equal or exceed the private sector’s level of profits on those wildly unequal terms is ludicrous. The Royal Mail and Post Offices are public services. Public services are there to provide a service, not to make a profit and can’t be run like companies. Thousands of Post Offices have been closed, forcing pensioners who have no cars to make long bus journeys to send parcels or collect pension money.

Royal Mail

The BBC’s Panorama showed in December 2009 that Royal Mail management are setting staff impossible tasks based on faulty methods. For instance, when timing how long it should take posties to deliver mail, they measured the length of road on a map. Anyone who has either worked as a postie or delivered leaflets knows that that isn’t the real distance you walk in making deliveries – because the real distance includes the walk from the road to every house and back, which, when it involves dozens, hundreds or thousands of houses makes it much further than it looks on a map.

Managers also tell staff they’re expected to walk at 4 miles an hour all day, while carrying bags of letters and parcels. Panorama got a fitness specialist to attempt it for a few days. He said it was hard even for him and he couldn’t have kept it up every day. Obviously the top management at Royal Mail either have no clue what the job actually involves – and need to spend some time trying to carry out their own demands to see if they’re even close to realistic – or else they have the same agenda as the government and the Conservative party – to set Royal Mail staff impossible tasks in order to try to use failure to achieve the impossible as a way to justify privatisation.

Funding should be provided to re-open rural post offices closed in cuts and the drive to privatise royal mail should be ended.

The Labour government already tried to privatise royal mail (backing down due to a backbench rebellion by some Labour MPs) and have made it clear they will look for a new ‘strategic partner’ (company to sell Royal Mail to) in future. The Conservatives also aim to privatise the Royal Mail.

Open a government bank branch in every post office

Government run bank branches in post offices could get them more business at the same time as providing fair interest rates and lower banking charges.  Then people can put their money in a reliable bank and afford loans. They can also provide competition to prevent the big private banks operating informal interest rate and bank charge cartels (oligopolies).