Thursday, 15 October 2009

I for got the letter

How random of me.

I had lunch with friends today and then went to visit Weeza and Zerlina. Zerlina is walking very steadily now, but she's into everything. She isn't destructive and knows what she's not allowed to do, but she climbs over everything and teeters precariously on every edge available. The sitting room floor is wood, so it's quite nerve-wracking, seeing her clambering onto a chair and balancing on the side, ready to plummet backwards onto the floor. She is unbothered, even when she takes a tumble, however.

As I was walking out to the car after lunch, a small group was talking about the planned postal strikes. These ladies were all in their 70s or 80s, only a couple of them used to using the internet, but none of them was too bothered. It was agreed (assuming that it drags on for another month or two) that they love to receive Christmas cards (funnily enough, no one said how much the writing of them was appreciated) but they could all manage without, and would phone or email instead. They would send presents by mail order and let the companies work out how best to get them delivered. I've rarely seen quite a strike that is likely to backfire quite so much. Use of the postal service has, apparently, declined by 10% this year alone - I've a feeling that if it weren't for eBay, it would have gone down rather more. If mail order companies start to use courier services and find them satisfactory, they may well not go back to the Royal Mail (is it still called the Royal Mail, I wonder?). If we start receiving more business communications by email (my preferred medium already, unless I actually must file the papers) then it will become accepted practice. If we go a year without Christmas cards, will we all bother to go back to them, or will we realise how few are really important? We've asked our postmen here what they think, and they're against the strike. And we've got a week's statutory notice of the next one, on Thursday and Friday. So we've got time to make preparations.

9 comments:

Four Dinners said...

It's the managements fault! Up the workers!! (I would say that eh?)....;-)

Z said...

Well, they've certainly got a reputation for taking big salaries while the postal service is being run right down. I'm making no assertions on the rights and wrongs of the situation, just that I think this strike is going to backfire by making us less likely to use the post in future.

Dandelion said...

I think I just saw a thing about it on Newsnight. The strike seems to be about resisting forced change, which seems fair enough to me. I'd be prepared to sacrifice the royal mail for the sake of that.

It will backfire on the management, and government, it seems to me, and if the Labour party really want to do without the not inconsiderable donations made by the postal union, then on their head be it. It's just a shame we everyday people have to suffer while management throw their weight about. I haven't had reliable post for months, and it wasn't that reliable even before the strikes began. Something had to give, and better with a bang than a whimper,I say.

I really am getting more and more sick and tired of our services being run into the ground by arrogant and incompetent managers. The transport, the police, the health, the education, it's all gone totally rubbish, and no-one seems to be held accountable. It makes me sick.

Dave said...

I never comment about religion or politics.

Z said...

Dand, it will backfire on the workforce too. In the end, there will probably be enough compromises to save face, the changes will come about because they're inevitable and postal charges will rise again because none of us trust the post to arrive on time so use alternatives. So in the long run the people who are striking will lose out and so will the customers. To say that you'll sacrifice the whole business rather than make changes is rather what's destroyed industry in this country, It's impossible to maintain an old-fashioned status quo. Someone else will step in and take over your work with the latest equipment while you're still complaining that it isn't fair. And they won't have an efficient and supportive trade union, so it'll be easier to exploit the people at the bottom.

Blue Witch said...

Unfortunately this is what happens when a company is run by the power of the unions for too long.

Royal Mail is a dinosaur organisation and it cannot be run as a successful business (or indeed hope to break even) with 1970s working practices and staffing levels.

I hope the whole lot of the strikers get the sack. They need to wake up to the real world and understand the privileged position they have been in - and what the rest of the workforce have had to put up with for years now.

I have no sympathy at all for them (and I have two friends who work at RM who are so misinformed that it is unbelievable).

Z said...

Of course, a lot of their financial difficulties are caused by the shortfall in pension provision, for which both Conservative and Labour governments can be held responsible.

But I'm still holding to the practicalities here. A 'blame culture' is useless. They need to look at the situation now, what is required for the future strength of the Royal Mail and how to get there. If, despite the internet and private firms, they can make the business successful and trusted, that will provide more jobs than running it into the ground. This strike is destroying the British postal service and is counter-productive.

sablonneuse said...

I don't know enough to join in the 'who's to blame' discussion but it does seem that the likely outcome will be that people look to alternative methods to send mail and parcels and so courrier services will prosper at the expense of the Royal Mail. I wonder why those who voted for strike action didn't think of this rather obvious point. . . . .

Z said...

Exactly, Sandy. Digging their own grave, and it grieves me. I want them to succeed, I value our postal service.