Friday, September 21, 2007

Unions still stuck in the 70s

Exciting technologies such as email, PDFs, etc. have absolutely shredded the Royal Mail's business; what profitable sections remained—parcel delivery, etc.—have been opened up to competition to other suppliers, under EU rules.

Unfortunately, the postal unions do not seem to have noticed and are preparing a new lot of strikes.
Postal workers are to stage two 48-hour national strikes next month in a row over pay and jobs, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has confirmed.

The CWU said its members will walk out on 5 October and 8 October, with further strikes to follow if no agreement is reached with Royal Mail.

At the centre of the dispute is the CWU's objection to the Royal Mail's 2.5% pay offer and modernisation plans.

Are these people totally fucking insane?

What the CWU do not seem to have realised is that I really doubt is anyone really noticed the last time that they walked out; I certainly didn't.

Most communication—even invoices, etc. can be sent as PDFs—is via email. The vast majority of payments are now done via BACS or other computer-based transfer systems. Even those small companies who still deal in cheques will simply pay a competitor to courier urgent orders. The CWU don't seem to understand that they no longer have monopoly power and they can strike till they are blue in the face, and no one will give a shit: the CWU has no leverage.
The union claims the shake-up plans will put about 40,000 jobs at risk.

The Royal Mail believes that without dramatic reforms it will not to able to survive in a liberalised mail market.

Quite. And if the Royal Mail does not survive, then a good number more than 40,000 jobs will go.
"Despite five weeks of negotiations, Royal Mail have failed to take on board the union's message that in order for the business to succeed, Royal Mail need to invest in their workforce," said CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward.

No, Dave, I'm really sorry but the Royal Mail does not have to invest in its staff. Being a postman is not terribly complicated: you might have noticed that you take on thousands of students around Christmas every, single year and they seem to have little trouble doing the job.

Walking around putting letters through doors may not be the most interesting job in the world, but nor is it very difficult. And nor is the sorting of them.

Your trouble is, Dave, that not only does the CWU have no leverage outwith the Royal Mail, it has precious little within the company itself. Every single one of your workers could be sacked tomorrow and the Royal Mail could probably hire and train at least a skeleton workforce in about a week.

And if the management threatened to sack all of your members as though they were US Air Traffic Controllers (whose bargaining power you don't have even the tiniest fraction of), how many do you think would stick with you, Dave?
"Strikes are a proportionate response to an employer that is completely out of control.

"Rather than running the business, Royal Mail's actions demonstrate they are intent on destroying it."

Give it up, you fucktard: the only people destroying the Royal Mail is you and your blinkered union cronies. Seriously, don't you get it? You aren't a public company anymore, so you can't cause embarrassment for politicians, and you aren't the sole provider of communications.

So let me repeat this: you have no leverage. None. Not one iota.

Furthermore, have your members increased their performance from 2005 levels? At the time, I wrote...
[Royal Mail CEO] Mr Crozier: turns the company round and therefore does his job. Bonus deserved.

Postal workers: not only losing 14.4 million items a year, but also having to be bribed to actually turn up for work. Bonus deserved?

Me? I'd say not. But then, I'm harsh like that...

But perhaps we should have some sympathy for the poor, wee workers, eh? Perhaps the pay offer is derisory?
Earlier this month, the CWU said that the Royal Mail had now upped its pay offer to a two-year increase worth 6.7%.

No, I reckon for a company that is still very far from being out of the financial woods, that's pretty generous—and it's certainly greater than the original 2.5% offer.
Yet the union added that the company was sticking to pension reform proposals - such as increased employee contributions and later retirement age - that it had rejected.

The Royal Mail countered at the time that it had "made it clear" to union officials that their aim was to "protect [our] existing people's pensions as far as possible and not increase their contributions".

Ah, it's the pensions. Hangovers from the days of state-ownership are they? Would this still be a final salary pension scheme perchance?

I think that it might be. After all, why increase employee contributions if you are not trying to hit a certain target? Look, Dave and cronies, these pensions are no longer sustainable: get used to it, you dim bastards.

Anyway, as I said, you aren't in any fucking position to argue; really, you aren't. I seriously suggest that you get back to work and shut the fuck up.


Roger Thornhill said...

I must say I do notice when my regular postie is off, and we do get more awol and theft with a transient workforce.

The key though is the Union "activity" is clouding the issue - EU regulation, i.e. priming the EU postal systems to be run by Deutche Post.

The Unions should be fighting to make the Post Office free of the dead hand of Statism from the EU, but I suppose the Unions would then be fighting what they see as "their side". Not sure.

I always wondered why the Post Office did not re-fit all their Post Offices to include an Internet Cafe.

Hugh Miller said...


Because they didn't see it coming?

Blind leading the stupid.


Anytime we hear union bosses speak these days, it is always from the still nationalised or the recently floated organisations who have too many staff, huge hangovers from when unions had clout and an us and them attitude which gives away the true agenda.

State-Control = good.

Most unionists these days appear to believe that in a modern world everyone should be on a 20 hour week, 12 weeks holiday, flexi-time, creche facilities, blowjobs on tap and a pension that will pay them the same basic wage they work for.

Mention improving productivity or efficiency savings and they all turn into Bob Crowe.

assegai mike said...

A close buddy of mine gave up the rat-race a few years back to become a postie. He works an extra shift *every* day on overtime and he and his wife make up junk-mail pieces in the evenings for an extra £900 a month. Thus they recently bought their second home, it's a beauty. He's almost 50 and refuses to join any of the strikes. A few more like him and a few less Dave Wards and the Royal Mail would be well "sorted".

tapestry said...

99% of what comes through the door is junk never read by anybody. I'd pay to stop it all if I could. Strike? Please do. Why not for a few years?

I have thrown away 15 years of junk mail at my current address. It must be the output of 15 sizeable trees. I have never even opened one letter in all that time, and I throw away the daily heavy tabloid admag too. It's barmy.

Anonymous said...

As a small business owner ( ) I'm finding it increasingly difficult to function with the Royal Mail proving itself to be so prone to striking. I've made every effort to get clients to use email and online payments, but many still insist on using cheques and hard copies. Since my business is relatively small none of the alternative business mail companies can offer us a service.

Oh yeah? So what has happened for the last ten years, exactly?

Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...