From reading media reports over the past few days about the forthcoming national strike of postal workers called by the CWU trade union, planned for October 22 and 23, itâ€™s hard to understand the logic of such a move.
Itâ€™s a complicated picture to do with massive change in an old industry involving postal workersâ€™ pay, conditions and reforms to a business trying to find a place in the new world of â€œmore digital and less analogue.â€
Yet while the posturing of the union leader Billy Hayes, and combative responses from Royal Mail chief executive Adam Crozier, continue amid no direct communication to find a solution, thousands of businesses and individuals are finding alternative services to send and receive their products and letters â€“ and plenty of businesses are there to offer their alternative services. Courier firm TNT is lobbying to get government permission to set up a rival postal service.
Are people likely to go back to the Royal Mail when this is all over and the dust settles? Assuming there still is a viable Royal Mail some will no doubt, but if this strike does go ahead â€“ and the union is saying they plan to call for more strikes â€“ surely it will accelerate the demise of a national postal service as we have known it. Maybe that is an inevitability at some point.
Still, this strike at this time makes little sense to me less than 70 days before Christmas, other than as arm-twisting by the union. Thereâ€™s certainly nothing in it for customers and little that I can see for Royal Mail employees.
Hereâ€™s my suggestion: Messrs Hayes and Crozier, get yourselves into a room together and donâ€™t come out again until youâ€™ve solved this. While youâ€™re talking, no strike.
Surely it can be that simple?
[Photo credit: Thomas Hawk]