Thursday, 22 October 2009

Strike ... what strike?

This morning, I got quite a bit of post ... one item was postmarked only a couple of days ago but unfortunately, no sign of the supplier package that by rights should've been here much earlier in the week. Oh yes, my BT bill arrived fine - if you're going to go on blinkin' strike, you can blimmin' well keep the bills you awkward so-and-so's. (People who know me will re-write that sentence with other words for those italicised!) ;-)

And about an hour ago, there was a red Royal Mail van and a yellow DHL van, one of them must've been collecting from the postbox which is opposite my house, I'm not sure which one. Curious ...

I thought it was all the sorting office and delivery/driving personnel were on strike but I have both received post and seen it being collected - are they on strike or not??! This leads me to wonder if these are temporary, non-union staff. I remember something being on the news about Royal Mail taking on double the number of temporary staff it usually does to cope with Christmas. I wonder if those staff are now doing as much as they can, once they get trained, the regular workforce will have to watch out. When they're on strike, Royal Mail don't pay them, they forego their wages, the management will therefore just use that money to pay the temporary staff (who will be glad of the work), and starve out the regular workforce.

I try to be sympathetic with my postman whilst I'm signing for the numerous packages that arrive for me, he told me about how one day he was expected to do an extra half hour's sorting AND deliver post to a second village which would take him another 2 hours but he had to fit it all in his usual timeframe because he has to pick his kids up after school (and there was no offer of overtime even if he could get someone else to pick them up). So I can understand that when they say they're not arguing about pay, OR modernisation (they all have those handheld devices now for you to sign instead of paper), it seems the management want to modernise the amount of work they have to fit in.

When I was a kid, I went to primary school with the postman's little girl. We still had the same postman when I left home aged 19. After getting married, I lived in one house for 10 years, another for 13 - both times we had the same postman from the day we moved in until the day we moved out. So, they don't seem to move on that eagerly, they can't be that badly off ...

During the recent regional strikes two days at a time I wasn't getting post at all on some days and it impacted on how quickly I got supplies for my business from time to time which was inconvenient but the local office seemed to get quickly caught up. I was still using Royal Mail for sending out jewellery and I never received any complaints.

However, as it's now a national strike, I can't be certain packages aren't sitting in intervening sorting offices. With a two day strike this week and they are talking about a further three next week, they must really have grievances to forego so many days pay but I am wondering how big the backlogs will become, I won't be risking Royal Mail til well after the strikes have finished. No-one is going to order a couple of pairs of earrings at the prices couriers charge for UK deliveries, let alone £19.13 for an international package. Given the number of companies that have sprung up to step into the breach, and the prices they are charging even for small packages, we clearly haven't been paying enough for mail deliveries, there must be some middle way but we're stuck coping with it whilst the management and the Unions just posture at each other and don't do anything serious to sort it all out.

1 comment:

  1. Aha, apparently it's the delivery people on strike today so no post today. The groups of workers appear to be sharing out the strike days Sorting and Drivers yesterday, today it's the Delivery staff so they're actually not losing two days pay, only one each.


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