Whitstable Campaign: Postal changes will help big business - not you!
Tom Willis, southeast regional director of the Royal Mail wrote to the Whitstable and Herne Bay Gazette explaining why the Royal Mail's position on the changes to your postal service. Following is CJ Stone's reply.
In last week’s Gazette, Tom Willis said that plans to move delivery offices from Whitstable and Herne Bay to Military Road in Canterbury was part of a £70 million investment “to modernise our business and improve service to our customers”.
Customers in Herne Bay will already know what Royal Mail “modernisation” actually means. It means later deliveries, delayed mail, lost packages, backlogs and confusion, as an untried delivery method is being foisted on a reluctant workforce.
It means replacing pollution free bikes with a new fleet of vans. It doesn’t matter how environmentally friendly the vans are, they will still create more pollution than the bikes they are replacing.
Mr Willis says that the company hopes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from Royal Mail vehicles by over 30 per cent. This may be true, but it doesn’t take into account the extra journeys that postal workers will be forced to take to get to and from work every day.
That 30 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from Royal Mail vehicles will be replaced by a 100 per cent increase in my carbon dioxide emissions as I am forced to drive to work instead of cycling as I currently do. Possibly as many as 100 staff in both offices are in the same position as me.
Mr Willis says he wishes to reassure customers that they will continue to be top priority during these operational changes. It depends on which customers he’s referring to of course.
Some people might suggest that these changes are being rolled out in the interests of the Royal Mail’s corporate customers, not their ordinary customers. It’s so utility bills and junk mail can be sent out cheaper, not in order to deliver you a better service.
Mr Willis says that the company is committed to providing convenient local facilities for customers who wish to collect their mail.
I’m assuming he means the post offices. But how long will that last? Once privatisation has taken place, and the link between the Royal Mail and the Post Office is broken, how long before our post offices are closed down? Where will you go to collect your mail then? Even assuming they can find a private company willing to take the undelivered mail, how can this be more secure than a dedicated facility in your own town, staffed by the posties you already know?
(Please note, the Royal Mail have failed to fulfil this promise, and so far no convenient local facilities have been made available.)
Mr Willis also fails to take into account the effect on the economy of the towns. Currently the majority of staff in both offices are from the town where they work. Once the jobs move out they will never come back again. Jobs will increasingly be taken up by people from other parts of the region who have little or no commitment to the communities they serve.
What is clear is that the Royal Mail simply haven’t thought through the implications of their modernisation programme properly. They haven’t consulted with you, their customers, or with us, their staff.
They’ve pressed ahead blindly, preferring to trust the expertise of computer programmers than the accumulated knowledge of their own staff. They’ve spent millions of pounds on a crackpot delivery method which looks good on a computer screen but which is clumsy and impractical over the ground.
They should have asked us posties first. We are the experts in delivery. We would have told them it wouldn’t work.
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This is a clear case of short-term thinking. The delivery office sites are prime real estate. They are being sold off now, in advance of privatisation, in order to temporarily boost profits while permanently undermining the service.