Driving home from Lancashire on Thursday night, I passed a number of big white articulated trucks on the M6 motorway heading south.
Only one had logos or signage although Iâ€™m assuming all were doing the same thing â€“ transporting the mail which the Royal Mail couldnâ€™t do because of a national strike during Thursday and Friday.
The truck with signage was UK Mail, a unit of Business Post Group plc which says it is â€œthe largest independent parcels, mail and logistics services company within the UK.â€ Itâ€™s also one of many alternative services that have had great opportunities open up because of whatâ€™s happening with the dispute between the Royal Mail and the CWU trade union over restructuring an analogue business for the digital age (itâ€™s a complex situation with a sorry history).
Yesterday, the Royal Mail postmen were back at work, delivering the mail again to homes and businesses up and down the country. I got five items through the letterbox: The Economist, just a day late; and four letters. What I immediately noticed about the letters was that not one of them had the postal frank of the Royal Mail: instead, all were franked â€˜UK Mailâ€™ (photo above).
I suppose the only good thing about the postal strike, from a customer point of view, is that thereâ€™s been no junk mail â€“ no pizza or Indian tale-away menus, offers for double glazing and other crap. A nice respite!
Speaking of The Economist â€“ an organization that places great stock in a reliable postal service to deliver its product to subscribers in a timely fashion â€“ they make interesting contingency plans as an email on Thursday explained:
I wonder what their stats would show for website accesses and audio edition downloads. On the rise, I bet.
The CWU has called for three days of more strikes for the coming week. I call that nail-in-the-coffin suicide, to mix a few metaphors.