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Issue #1620      November 27, 2013

Cuts caused mail failures

BRITAIN: Job cuts and price increases in the lead-up to privatisation were the reason Royal Mail missed key performance targets earlier this year, postal union Unite has claimed. Postal regulator Ofcom said the recently privatised company missed a requirement to deliver 93 percent of first-class letters the day after collection, reaching only 91.7 percent.

Ofcom said Royal Mail was also required to meet a target of 91.5 percent of next-day delivery for first-class post throughout Britain and not just in densely populated areas. But it achieved this level in only 62 percent of the required postcode areas in the year to March 2013.

“Ofcom is concerned about Royal Mail’s failure to meet certain service targets,” the regulator said, threatening fines if the company continued to deliver late.

Unite, which represents around 7,000 postal managers, said the failures were due to job reductions in the run-up to the firm’s privatisation. Unite Royal Mail officer Brian Scott called for a company-wide review into tackling the issue of staff reductions and overworking.

He said: “Royal Mail has been setting itself up for privatisation in the last year, making unnecessary job reductions and cutting corners to make it a more viable sell-off. Members working in delivery offices are under a huge amount of pressure and this continues with no obvious solution.”

The Campaign for Public Ownership said it was not just job reductions that were part of the government’s preparations for privatisation. Stamp prices were also increased in the run-up “to turn the people against the company” and to pre-empt an inevitable price rise once investors gained control – which would have resulted in a public backlash.

Campaign director Neil Clark said the future was bleak for the service. He told the Morning Star newspaper: “After the next general election the universal service will disappear or mail delivery will take on the heavily subsidised railway model.”

Morning Star

Next article – Environmental groups walk out on Warsaw talks

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