Royal Mail kicked to death by union

I told BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show that it’s hard to believe that the Royal Mail can continue in anything like its present form. And the Communication Workers’ Union seem determined to kill it off double-quick.

The point is, surely, that the days are over when one could defend a state-owned monopoly provider of a cheap, universal, overnight, daily mail service. Many things militate against it, including the decline in demand for the service, the reluctance of the government to invest any more money, and the stroppiness of staff. All these add to the logic of seeing the whole proposition as a redundant and obsolete extravagance.

Presumably, there might be justification for (and money to be made in) a service which used cheap labour to deliver mail less frequently. It might even be required to offer a one-price universality, though a rural premium would presumably be justified. I may be thick, but I can’t see how such a service would much offend equity or fail consumers.

Truth is, very little snowmail is urgent. A few days here or there make very little difference to bills (or cheques to pay them), letters from granny, begging letters or junk mail. I imagine even weekly magazines could be delivered within a day or two of their due-date. The big point is that whatever service is offered, its being reliable would be a big part of its appeal.

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Publication date

19 October 2009