Four Sides In Royal Mail Dispute

Monday, 26 October 2009  |  Admin

Customers of Royal Mail

It is said that there are two sides to every dispute: but in the dispute between the management of Royal Mail and Communications Workers Union [CWU], there appear to be at least four. According to the CWU leader, Billy Hayes, the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is an important influence in the progress of the dispute. As the only shareholder in Royal Mail, it would be surprising if the Government were not an interested party, and with an election due by next spring, this dispute is a potentially explosive issue for election minded politicians. But the fourth side – albeit not actually a party to the dispute – is all of us, Royal Mail’s customers.

Sympathy For Our Posties,  But Timing Is The Issue

We British are a tenacious people – not lightly deterred from getting on with our lives in the face of adversity. Many of us are sympathetic to our wonderfully helpful and reliable “Posties”, who deliver the bills and junk mail 6 days a week throughout the year, even if we are not exactly convinced by the arguments of either their employer or their union: we have heard it all before! The real issue for all of us – the customers – is the timing of this dispute to coincide with the busiest mail period leading up to Christmas. This is a real pain for us all. Who wants to write out all those Christmas Cards if they are not going anywhere? And what a loss it will be if the dispute is not settled soon for all those people who maintain contact with distant friends and family via the Christmas greeting.

The Plight of Small Businesses

Business is also suffering, with invoices, payments and small packages now denied the usual reliable delivery platform of Royal Mail. Yin Yang Skincare is a typical Royal Mail business customer: we send out thousands of packages and letters every month via the postal service and have been doing so since 1973 when we first opened for business. But, with the Christmas trade entering its busiest period, we simply have to be able to supply our customers. We are fortunate to have available to us a superb courier service, from our long time partner in the distribution of our larger consignments, Flight Logistics Ltd. During the course of this dispute Flight Logistics will also deliver our smaller packages on a guaranteed next day delivery service.

Katie May “We can’t afford to let our customers down”

Speaking to the Oxford Mail this weekend, Katie May, a director of Yin Yang Natural Sciences Ltd [parent company of Yin Yang Skincare] commented “We can’t continue a business that relies on small parcels without making other arrangements... it means paying more, but it has to be worth it to maintain our service... the Christmas period is a big part of the business year and we can’t afford to let our customers down”.

Season of Good Sense

We all depend on an efficient reliable postal service, and the public has a genuine affection for the face we see of Royal Mail - the men and women who deliver our mail. For everyone’s sake, let us hope that the other three sides to this dispute come to their senses and reach a solution very soon indeed.