Neville Hobson

Last chance saloon for Royal Mail and CWU

ukmail 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 – 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 “the largest independent parcels, mail and logistics services company within the UK.” 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 ‘UK Mail†(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 – no pizza or Indian tale-away menus, offers for double glazing and other crap. A nice respite!

Speaking of The Economist – an organization that places great stock in a reliable postal service to deliver its product to subscribers in a timely fashion – 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.

It certainly wonâ€t be painless.

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