Sunday, September 20, 2009

Royal Mail: bag o'shite

On the fourth of September, I ordered Apple's Snow Leopard from their online store. Using the postal service, it was estimated that my package would arrive between the seventh and the tenth of September.

It did not.

Days passed. Finally, on the seventeenth of September, a Royal Mail "sorry, you were out" note was pushed through my flat door. Apparently, the postman had tried to deliver my package at 11.00 that morning.

Except that no such attempt was made. I know this, because the wife was in all day.

My conclusion, therefore, is that Royal Mail "workers" are a bunch of lazy, shifty, dishonest little shits and, given that, my immediate reaction to the news that said "workers" are contemplating a national strike is quite simple...

How the hell will we tell?

As The Appalling Strangeness says in his comprehensive fisking of the above article...
Finally, maybe Deputy General Secretary [of the Communication Workers' Union] Ward might want to use some empathy and consider why—after a summer where Royal Mail employees have devastated the already tatty reputation of that organisation and made mail deliveries even more of a joke than they have been before—those running the Royal Mail believe increased automation and employing fewer people might be the best way forward for them.

Quite. And maybe—just maybe—Deputy General Secretary Ward might like to consider that Royal Mail is not run for the benefit of its workers: it is run for the benefit of Royal Mail's paying customers and for the benefit of the taxpayers who subsidise the whole shebang.

Because private companies cannot be run for the good of the workers or they go bust. This is why the privatisation of state-run businesses and monopolies has led to so much better service—union demands are anathema to running an efficient business: as a result, those ex-state monoliths have had to curb the unions, or die.

I say that we should properly privatise the Royal Mail and—furthermore—that said privatisation cannot come soon enough.

23 comments:

john in cheshire said...

I totally agree. No business or service provider (except the armed services and the (god help us) police) should be owned or controlled by the government. it is government's job to set the rules by which businesses are run.
And they should monitor these concerns at a reasonable cost to the masters of the government; ie. the taxpayer. The servants of the people should be in perpetual uneasiness, if not fear, of their paymasters - us.

Chris said...

All the profitable and useful bits of the Royal Mail (BT, Parcelforce) have long since been privatised. What's left is a Socialist rump monopoly holding national door-or-door letter delivery to ransom (and thieving like gypsies every Xmas)

Privatise it now!

Ray said...

With regards to the parcel non-delivery, what often happens is that parcels get left behind at the sorting office and the 'you weren't in' cards prewritten.

This is to save time on the rounds (no waiting for someone to answer a rung doorbell) and also save weight in the bag (so they can walk faster too).

To be fair this is partially due to the rather bureaucratic targets and schedules set on the posties by management (who probably have never actually done a post round themselves). The postal targets on the workers are set up such that them making a round in a certain time is more important than whether the post is actually delivered or not.

If you are sending a parcel to someone you are much better off using UPS/FedEx/ParcelForce/whoever rather than Royal Mail. I wish more online/mail order retailers would offer other options when one orders.

Martin said...

"...private companies cannot be run for the good of the workers or they go bust"

Like the banks?

"This is why the privatisation of state-run businesses and monopolies has led to so much better service"

I'm some years older than you and have no substantive recollection of what the service level provided by state monopolies was like under nationalisation, so I can only assume that this statement is motivated more by ideology than experience. Next!

"union demands are anathema to running an efficient business: as a result, those ex-state monoliths have had to curb the unions, or die."

So it's better for us all if the workers are kept servile and fearful. Tell you what - I'll listen to this elitist crap when the libertarians start calling for the country's two most powerful trade unions, the Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Directors, to be consigned to the rubbish heap. But they won't do that, because that's their peer group.

While capital can organise in its own interests, labour should be able to do likewise, and if you don't like it, then tough. That's life in the real world.

DK said...

Martin,

"I'm some years older than you and have no substantive recollection of what the service level provided by state monopolies was like under nationalisation, so I can only assume that this statement is motivated more by ideology than experience."

Are you an orphan, Martin? Do you know no one older than yourself?

Alternatively, have you heard of something called "history", Martin? This is when people who didn't actually live at the time examine documents, witness statements, etc. to find out what happened in the past. It's a really amazing thing: you ought to look into it.

"Next!"

Well, quite.

"So it's better for us all if the workers are kept servile and fearful."

Um, no. But it is better for us when workers realise that the business is not being run for their benefit. Because, you see, delusions are just that, and do not lead to better results.

"Tell you what - I'll listen to this elitist crap when the libertarians start calling for the country's two most powerful trade unions, the Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Directors, to be consigned to the rubbish heap. But they won't do that, because that's their peer group."

OK, Martin, because I'm a libertarian and not a fucking corporatist (yes, Martin, there is a pretty fucking big difference, as I would hope you would be aware by now), I will happily denounce said unions.

Further, I will happily demand that they be unable to influence law or order the economy.

Fortunately, the best way to do that is to ensure that said unions cannot buy power—and the best way to ensure that is to remove the power from politicos, i.e. those who are bought.

Strangely, that fits right in with my libertarianism. Who'da thunk it?

"While capital can organise in its own interests, labour should be able to do likewise, and if you don't like it, then tough. That's life in the real world."

And not one mention of the consumer who is forced to pay for all of this. Nice.

I want the removal of monopoly, Martin. In that way, you remove the power of both capital and workers.

If there were an alternative for letter delivery, the Royal Mail's bosses and workers could keep on fighting and wasting time and money for as long as they were able.

The rest of us—those who would like our mail to get to places on time and on budget—would go elsewhere.

At present, we cannot. Do you see?

DK

countdruncula said...

I'm surprised that Apple haven't made the damned thing available as a download through their store. Perhaps something to bring up with your deity, Steve, at the next shareholders' meeting? ;-)

DK said...

"I'm surprised that Apple haven't made the damned thing available as a download through their store."

Yes, this is something to consider.

However, the advantage of having the system on a DVD is that you can run the computer off said DVD—which means that if your Mac has gone totally "crunch" (not unknown when a hard drive gets corrupted), then you can use the DVD to jump-start the machine.

I have never understood how Windows users could ever do without a system disk...

DK

Anonymous said...

"While capital can organise in its own interests, labour should be able to do likewise, and if you don't like it, then tough. That's life in the real world."

This is something that has long since bothered me.

Surely the "Libertarian" attitude should be that the above holds true.
If people wish to join voluntary collectives (such as unions) they should be allowed to do so. Just as people who wish to strike in support of others regardless of whether they are in a related industry or not, should also be allowed to do so.
Surely that is the whole point of being libertarian?
Or am I missing something?

Bald headed John.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say...

"And not one mention of the consumer who is forced to pay for all of this. Nice."

If said company cannot deliver its service without continuing battles between management and workers, then the ideal would be that the consumer turns to a company that can.
Of course, that would be an ideal world, lol.

BHJ.

LurkingBlackHat said...

DK

Tell me about it.

If is my eldest son's birthday on Monday. He is severely autistic but loves getting presents.

This week my wife and I have started to get worried as no presents had arrived from our family and friends.

Yesterday (Saturday) I was in up with my son in our front room from about 06:00.

When I when out of my house at 09:30 I found the missing presents left on my front door step.

Postman could not even be bother to ring the bell FFS.

I suppose I should be just glad they we not nicked.

countdruncula said...

However, the advantage of having the system on a DVD is that you can run the computer off said DVD

I was thinking more along the lines of a disk image that you could burn to disk yourself - it just seems daft in this day and age to have only physical media.

A colleague of mine brought me his knackered Windows laptop to tend to the other day - I was absolutely gobsmacked to find out that there was no restore DVD, as I tend to deal with mostly linux machines. Since it was the disk itself that was poked and subsequently had to be replaced, corporate shitbags Toshiba wanted £30 for a replacement operating system disk - which the owner presumably thought they already owned, but didn't fully. Pirate Bay (and multiple trojan hunter software sites) ahoy!

Assegai Mike said...

Earlier this year, postie dropped a card on a Saturday morning when both the g/f and I were in. When I complained at the parcel office (having taken time off work to visit), the Royal Mail person said: "Sorry, it was the temp." So that's okay then.

Re: software. All software should be available for automatic download following transaction with an option to purchase the media for £10, £20 whatever. Then it wouldn't matter so much how crap Royal Mail were.

Anonymous said...

Postmen have a pathological fear of doorbells. It is either that or there is a strange secret society of postmen who take an oath never to touch them. They also have stealth capabilities that the SAS would kill for because even when I'm in I don't notice the little git putting that blasted "while you were out" note through, had to wait over the Bank Holiday weekend to pick up the parcel that the workshy git couldn't be bothered to deliver.

Anonymous said...

Cunts have done the same to me numerous times. Fuck em, as soon as there is an alternative service I will use it.

Anonymous said...

I was actually sitting on the sofa when I saw the postman coming to the door I got up to get the post and all I found was a card telling me to collect a letter! didn't ring the bell and was off before I even crossed the length of my lounge. I complained too and was told it would be looked into. This had happened before when I was in but I had never actually seen them do it.

Pogo said...

@Martin "I'm some years older than you and have no substantive recollection of what the service level provided by state monopolies was like under nationalisation, so I can only assume that this statement is motivated more by ideology than experience. Next!"

Well... I'm considerably older than both of you and have unhappy memories of the unspeakably shite service provided by most of the state monopolies. If you think that the railways are bad now, you should have seen British Rail, ditto the original monopoly version of British Telecom.

Anonymous said...

When I got one of those cards I was able to reschedule a delivery.. can you not do that anymore?

Martin said...

"Alternatively, have you heard of something called "history", Martin?"

Given the number of occasions I've had to correct your interpretation of it, the answer to that question speaks for itself.

And no, I am not an orphan. Came close to being a cheap personal shot, that one.

"it is better for us when workers realise that the business is not being run for their benefit."

Well, being a worker myself I seem incapable of developing the particular form of schizophrenia that requires me to consider myself a worker in some circumstances and a consumer in others. Maybe the intellectual tergiversations required for living in the modern world are beyond me. I just don't get how I can be part of an inclusive group (your 'us') for some purposes, and another (your 'workers') for others. Does not compute.

"and the best way to ensure that is to remove the power from politicos, i.e. those who are bought"

An aim your party is not likely to achieve by putting up 18 year old candidates.

"And not one mention of the consumer who is forced to pay for all of this"

See 'schizophrenia', above.

Pogo,

on a thread loike this, a comment like yours is so predictable one could almost open a book at William Hill's on when it is likely to appear.

Immediately before the privatisation of BT, the government ran a series of ads starring Joanna Lumley (I think) showing here standing in the middle of banks upon banks of computers, and telling us it was an exchange. The days of the party line, and of that old Heffer-esque favourite, the wait for a connection, had gone long before privatisation.

Simon said...

As I put on my blog, I was talking to the pub's resident postie the other night -
Me: "Hang on, you're on holiday, how are you going to be able to vote in this strike action?

Postie: "That's alright, there's a postal ballot."

!

Sargon the Demented said...

@Martin - "I seem incapable of developing the particular form of schizophrenia that requires me to consider myself a worker in some circumstances and a consumer in others."

It's quite simple really, Martin. A worker is someone who works in a company or organisation. A consumer is someone who makes use of services or products provided by an organisation. You can be neither, one, or both of worker and consumer for any given company.

Given your prelediction to using unusual words like "tergiversations", I'm quite sure you can muster up the intellectual capacity to understand the above paragraph, even if your idiological hatred causes you to struggle to accept it.

"on a thread loike this, a comment like [Pogo's] is so predictable one could almost open a book at William Hill's on when it is likely to appear."

Similarly, you can guarantee that in the comments to any blog about the post office, unions, etc., there will be one or more comments just like yours.

Like Pogo, I am of an age where I remember what some of the state "providers" were like. They weren't all useless and on strike all of the time. It just felt like they were.

Martin said...

Sargon,

Quick couple of points.

Although I do have a predilection for unusual words, I have absolutely no idea what a 'prelediction' is. It does, however, sound as if it would be something that the dative 'for' would apply to more readily to than the dative 'to'.

Similarly, although one has seen more than one's fair share of idiotarianism in these parts, I don't have a clue what 'idiological hatred' is; and I don't hate anyone or anything, but I just can't stand being pigeonholed by ideologues, of whatever hue, for their own purposes.

Now I had better scoot along out of here for good, because posting on this thread is starting to make me sound like Oliver Kamm...

You can't get me I'm part of the union said...

Ah yes, unions and their willingness to help in the old days. Oh how I loved them!

Many years ago when the dear old efficient, conscientious GPO ran the phone system, I ordered a telephone from them. It would take a large number of weeks to get this phone installed as I lived in a town just outside a major city in England. So of course I understood it would be very difficult to do it promptly.

Anyway, after two months of waiting for the GPO to steel themselves to take a short drive from the city it happened that I got flu so was off work. How fortunate that was. Their method of business was to arrive unannounced (no appointment necessary; you just have to hope you are in) but I happened to be able to get out of my bed when I heard the one, brief, knock on the front door and managed to call from the window to the GPO worker who was about to climb back in his van and speed off to the safety of the big town.

He came back and fitted the phone. "You were lucky," he told me with an engaging smirk. "If you hadn't seen me it would have been three months before we would have tried again."

Yes, lucky old me. Since then I have of course always championed the trade union movement, for their willingness to try that extra bit harder for the customer. No effort is too great when serving the public, as we have so often seen.

Martin said...

This all happened at the same time as you ordered your first PC, had your Sky box installed and made a killing from the demutualisation of the Halifax. No? Thought not.