The postal workers’ threat to block ‘final mile’ deliveries from the likes of TNT Post and UK Mail has been branded suicidal by industry experts, who claim it will spark legal action and even derail privatisation.
Final mile deliveries now account for more half of all Royal Mail’s postal business, but the Communication Workers’ Union is to ballot its 120,000 Royal Mail members in the New Year over whether they should stop handling all private mail.
The move has been sparked by TNT’s plans to expand its own mail delivery scheme, which started in April in the London postcodes of W1-16 and SW1.
The Dutch-owned company has since been granted permission for trial deliveries to EC and WC addresses in the City of London.
The CWU has called for regulator Ofcom to halt the experiment, saying that the expansion of the private sector would lead to a further decline in the Royal Mail’s finances.
The union maintains that TNT “does not have to meet any quality standards while paying people little more than minimum wage. That will lead to a race to the bottom on pay which will be bad news for the economy in general and postal workers in particular”.
A TNT spokesman said: “We disagree with the points the CWU has made. We plan to create 20,000 jobs over the next five years in the postal sector, which is good news for the British economy and good news for the UK postal sector.”
And one industry source told DecisionMarketing: “This is suicidal. Private operators bring in £1.4bn worth of mail through Royal Mail – 44% of all letters in the UK postal system, and three-quarters of all bulk mail – which they are contracted to deliver.
“Any move to boycott this will get the lawyers twitching. More worryingly for the Government, who is going to want to invest in a business with such a highly volatile workforce? Agree with the sentiment or not, private investors will not welcome this threat.”
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