Wellington newsagent takes on Royal Mail with hand-delivered postal service

Somerset County Gazette: TIME TO DELIVER: Lorraine Lettley takes Christmas cards from a customer. Photos: SWNS TIME TO DELIVER: Lorraine Lettley takes Christmas cards from a customer. Photos: SWNS

WHEN it comes to delivering letters, this Wellington newsagent has the opposition licked.

Lorraine Lettley, 62, and daughter Trish, 37, have set up their own Welly Post service at EJ Teare after customers complained about the rising cost of sending mail.

The service, which is half the price of a first class stamp, guarantees next day delivery by hand and the team is now posting 250 items a day since launching the venture two weeks ago.

Lorraine said: “Trish thought up the idea because we thought we do deliveries from the shop already, why not offer even more of a service to our customers.

“We had heard people mentioning about the cost of the Royal Mail and we felt it was something that we could possibly help out with.”

Shoppers drop off post at the shop, on South Street, where staff guarantee next day delivery within two-and-a-half miles for just 30p.

And for just 10p extra they will collect letters from customers' homes – 20p cheaper than a first class stamp.

Somerset County Gazette:

Husband Richard, 66, delivers to half the town on his bike, cycling for up to two hours away day to ensure customers cards arrive on time, while Trish drives to villages where she parks up to hand-deliver post.

Lorraine added: “My husband recently retired and we were looking for something to keep him busy on his bike so this seemed perfect.

“We are thrilled by how it has taken off. People are really grateful for the extra help - and love that it costs less.

“People are so enthusiastic and it is bringing people out of their shells a bit too as it has become a bit of a talking point.

“The reaction has been nothing but positive and we are finding that people are really eager to be loyal to an independent business.”

Lorraine, who worked in the shop for 18 years before she took it over seven years ago, said she plans to run the service all year round.

Somerset County Gazette:

Mum-of-four Julie Watkin, 55, used the service to deliver a dozen Christmas cards last week.

She said: “It is really great. You know that it is going to get there - and you know who is going to deliver it - and you can't beat the price.

“It feels good to support the local community and be part of something too.”

Somerset County Gazette:

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6:32am Tue 24 Dec 13

Somerset.SocialistParty says...

Originally posted Wednesday 28 March 2012

If you don't like the 60p stamp, wait till you see Royal Mail privatisation

Royal Mail may be viewed with a high level of affection by the public now, but will that still be the case after it's privatised?

The inevitable has happened. The government has announced its schedule for the privatisation of the Royal Mail, due to begin in 2013.


It's not clear yet whether it will be full privatisation or part-privatisation, whether it will be sold off to another mail company or to a private equity firm, or whether it will be floated on the stock market as an IPO (initial public offering) and advertised to the public in the manner of the "Tell Sid" campaign for the sale of British Gas way back in 1986. "We see no reason why this company should not be IPO-able," said one senior figure. "Royal Mail is viewed with a high level of affection by the public."


The reasons given for the privatisation were outlined in the Hooper report in 2010.


They are as follows:


1) Falling volumes of mail due to competition from electronic media such as email and texts.


2) The inefficiency of the Royal Mail compared with its competitors.


3) The need for modernisation and the private investment to complete this.


4) The pensions deficit, the headline figure for which seems to rise on a yearly basis. It currently stands at £9bn according to some reports, less according to others.


Hooper consulted widely throughout the industry. However, he has never, as far as I know, spoken to any postal workers.


What we would have told him is that while it may be true that mail volumes have fallen, staff numbers have been falling at a faster rate. Up to 50,000 job losses since 2002.


In other words, the weight of mail for the average postal worker has been increasing. We are carrying more mail, to greater numbers of people, on larger rounds than ever. Our sacks are heavier. We work longer hours, and we've taken an effective pay cut since the postal agreement of 2010 in which door-to-door (junk mail) – which we were previously paid for separately – has now been incorporated into our workload. In other words, falling mail volumes have been more than compensated for by staff efficiencies.


We would also have told him that the so-called inefficiency of the Royal Mail is due as much to market liberalisation as it is to anything inherent in the company.


Private mail companies have access to the Royal Mail network through a mechanism known as downstream access. They bid for the most lucrative contracts from corporate customers, but have no obligation to deliver the letters. They leave that up to the Royal Mail, dropping it off on our doorstep for final-mile delivery. In other words, our so-called competitors have a peculiar market advantage. They take a cut of the profits, while we do the actual work.


As for modernisation, that is being subsidised by the taxpayer. The government has already loaned the company £1.7bn and is proposing to write off £1bn of that.


Which brings us to the pension deficit, which has already been taken into government hands. Even then it was never as great a problem as has been made out. The deficit currently stands at £9bn but the assets stand at £28bn. That's three times as much. The deficit only becomes a problem if all Royal Mail workers cash in their pensions immediately, something that is not going to happen.


These are just some of the ways in which the argument for privatisation has been skewed.


Meanwhile, in preparation for the event, the new regulator, Ofcom, has announced a lifting of the cap on how much the company can charge for first-class mail. The public are hardly likely to enjoy that. Nor is this going to increase public affection for the company.


However, here's the problem. The cost of mail delivery has been way too cheap for way too long. Sixty pence to deliver a first-class letter from the Outer Hebrides to the Scilly Isles: it's still a bargain by anyone's reckoning.


Traditionally the profitable parts of the company were used to supplement the unprofitable parts. This is the means by which the Royal Mail has been able to deliver the universal service obligation (USO).


It is the breaking up of the company that has lead to the threat to the USO, one of the reasons Hooper gives for the need for privatisation. (Indeed, his report is called "Saving the Royal Mail's universal postal service in the digital age".) The irony here is that the USO might be dropped in order to sweeten any future deal.


Anyone who wants to know what privatisation means for staff only needs to look at the Dutch model, where postal rounds have been franchised out to home workers in a system known as "sort and deliver". Boxes of mail are dropped on a home-worker's doorstep, who then has to sort the mail and deliver it on an agreed day. The worker is paid per item, not by the hour.


The trick here is that there is often a gross underestimation of the time it takes to do the work. Casual workers get no sick pay, no holiday pay, no health insurance, no pension and – depending on how long the round takes – often end up being paid below the minimum wage.


All of which is likely to erode that "high level of affection" felt by the public for the Royal Mail.

For more information, or to joint he Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk
Originally posted Wednesday 28 March 2012 If you don't like the 60p stamp, wait till you see Royal Mail privatisation Royal Mail may be viewed with a high level of affection by the public now, but will that still be the case after it's privatised? The inevitable has happened. The government has announced its schedule for the privatisation of the Royal Mail, due to begin in 2013. It's not clear yet whether it will be full privatisation or part-privatisation, whether it will be sold off to another mail company or to a private equity firm, or whether it will be floated on the stock market as an IPO (initial public offering) and advertised to the public in the manner of the "Tell Sid" campaign for the sale of British Gas way back in 1986. "We see no reason why this company should not be IPO-able," said one senior figure. "Royal Mail is viewed with a high level of affection by the public." The reasons given for the privatisation were outlined in the Hooper report in 2010. They are as follows: 1) Falling volumes of mail due to competition from electronic media such as email and texts. 2) The inefficiency of the Royal Mail compared with its competitors. 3) The need for modernisation and the private investment to complete this. 4) The pensions deficit, the headline figure for which seems to rise on a yearly basis. It currently stands at £9bn according to some reports, less according to others. Hooper consulted widely throughout the industry. However, he has never, as far as I know, spoken to any postal workers. What we would have told him is that while it may be true that mail volumes have fallen, staff numbers have been falling at a faster rate. Up to 50,000 job losses since 2002. In other words, the weight of mail for the average postal worker has been increasing. We are carrying more mail, to greater numbers of people, on larger rounds than ever. Our sacks are heavier. We work longer hours, and we've taken an effective pay cut since the postal agreement of 2010 in which door-to-door (junk mail) – which we were previously paid for separately – has now been incorporated into our workload. In other words, falling mail volumes have been more than compensated for by staff efficiencies. We would also have told him that the so-called inefficiency of the Royal Mail is due as much to market liberalisation as it is to anything inherent in the company. Private mail companies have access to the Royal Mail network through a mechanism known as downstream access. They bid for the most lucrative contracts from corporate customers, but have no obligation to deliver the letters. They leave that up to the Royal Mail, dropping it off on our doorstep for final-mile delivery. In other words, our so-called competitors have a peculiar market advantage. They take a cut of the profits, while we do the actual work. As for modernisation, that is being subsidised by the taxpayer. The government has already loaned the company £1.7bn and is proposing to write off £1bn of that. Which brings us to the pension deficit, which has already been taken into government hands. Even then it was never as great a problem as has been made out. The deficit currently stands at £9bn but the assets stand at £28bn. That's three times as much. The deficit only becomes a problem if all Royal Mail workers cash in their pensions immediately, something that is not going to happen. These are just some of the ways in which the argument for privatisation has been skewed. Meanwhile, in preparation for the event, the new regulator, Ofcom, has announced a lifting of the cap on how much the company can charge for first-class mail. The public are hardly likely to enjoy that. Nor is this going to increase public affection for the company. However, here's the problem. The cost of mail delivery has been way too cheap for way too long. Sixty pence to deliver a first-class letter from the Outer Hebrides to the Scilly Isles: it's still a bargain by anyone's reckoning. Traditionally the profitable parts of the company were used to supplement the unprofitable parts. This is the means by which the Royal Mail has been able to deliver the universal service obligation (USO). It is the breaking up of the company that has lead to the threat to the USO, one of the reasons Hooper gives for the need for privatisation. (Indeed, his report is called "Saving the Royal Mail's universal postal service in the digital age".) The irony here is that the USO might be dropped in order to sweeten any future deal. Anyone who wants to know what privatisation means for staff only needs to look at the Dutch model, where postal rounds have been franchised out to home workers in a system known as "sort and deliver". Boxes of mail are dropped on a home-worker's doorstep, who then has to sort the mail and deliver it on an agreed day. The worker is paid per item, not by the hour. The trick here is that there is often a gross underestimation of the time it takes to do the work. Casual workers get no sick pay, no holiday pay, no health insurance, no pension and – depending on how long the round takes – often end up being paid below the minimum wage. All of which is likely to erode that "high level of affection" felt by the public for the Royal Mail. For more information, or to joint he Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk Somerset.SocialistParty

6:58am Tue 24 Dec 13

Somerset.SocialistParty says...

According to this Gazette article "WHEN it comes to delivering letters, this Wellington newsagent has the opposition licked."

Leaving the typical Gazette-Sub-Standard
-Pun aside, does this claim stand up to closer scrutiny or is it merely a...

....sign of things to be expected from a newly privatised Royal Mail (ex-service) business?

Originally posted in the Guardian Wednesday 28 March 2012

Anyone who wants to know what privatisation means for staff only needs to look at the Dutch model, where postal rounds have been franchised out to home workers in a system known as "sort and deliver". Boxes of mail are dropped on a home-worker's doorstep, who then has to sort the mail and deliver it on an agreed day. The worker is paid per item, not by the hour.


The trick here is that there is often a gross underestimation of the time it takes to do the work. Casual workers get no sick pay, no holiday pay, no health insurance, no pension and – depending on how long the round takes – often end up being paid below the minimum wage.

********************
********************
********************
********************
******

Originally posted in The Socialist newspaper, 9 October 2013

The postal service is being taken out of public ownership and ripped to shreds by private institutions and investors, all hoping to make a fat profit from our 497 year-old national treasure.

Postal workers are bitterly opposed to the sell-off, because they know it will lead to job losses and cuts in terms and conditions.

In a desperate attempt to divide the workforce, Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene tried to bribe posties with the promise of £300 to cross picket lines.

But we know it's the banks and advisers that helped cause the financial crisis in 2008 who stand to make millions as Royal Mail is flogged off cheaply.

No wonder the government has rushed through privatisation, the overwhelming majority of the public do not support the sale.

Royal Mail will now dance to the tune of shareholders - spending millions on dividends and fat cat bonuses, while services face terminal decline until the daily delivery to 29 million homes across the UK can no longer be maintained.

It will only be a matter of time before jobs are lost and services scaled back as the drive for profit takes over. How long before Royal Mail ends up in need of a taxpayer bailout?

Anger is being directed at the Con-Dem coalition but also at Labour, who once again proved they no longer represent workers.

At the Labour Party conference, delegates unanimously passed a motion which called on the next Labour government to renationalise Royal Mail.

This could have seriously dented the floatation. Yet shamefully the Labour leaders ignored the vote and refused to make such a commitment.

A growing number of CWU members are now questioning the link between Labour and the union. The need for a new mass workers' party has become clearer now and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is a step in right direction.

The CWU ballot is expected to return a strong 'yes' vote for industrial action when voting closes on 16 October, with strikes likely to take place within weeks.

CWU leaders should coordinate joint strike action with all the other unions that are in dispute and bring this weak Tory-led coalition down.

Moya Greene receives 72 times the average pay of a postal worker




For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk
According to this Gazette article "WHEN it comes to delivering letters, this Wellington newsagent has the opposition licked." Leaving the typical Gazette-Sub-Standard -Pun aside, does this claim stand up to closer scrutiny or is it merely a... ....sign of things to be expected from a newly privatised Royal Mail (ex-service) business? Originally posted in the Guardian Wednesday 28 March 2012 Anyone who wants to know what privatisation means for staff only needs to look at the Dutch model, where postal rounds have been franchised out to home workers in a system known as "sort and deliver". Boxes of mail are dropped on a home-worker's doorstep, who then has to sort the mail and deliver it on an agreed day. The worker is paid per item, not by the hour. The trick here is that there is often a gross underestimation of the time it takes to do the work. Casual workers get no sick pay, no holiday pay, no health insurance, no pension and – depending on how long the round takes – often end up being paid below the minimum wage. ******************** ******************** ******************** ******************** ****** Originally posted in The Socialist newspaper, 9 October 2013 The postal service is being taken out of public ownership and ripped to shreds by private institutions and investors, all hoping to make a fat profit from our 497 year-old national treasure. Postal workers are bitterly opposed to the sell-off, because they know it will lead to job losses and cuts in terms and conditions. In a desperate attempt to divide the workforce, Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene tried to bribe posties with the promise of £300 to cross picket lines. But we know it's the banks and advisers that helped cause the financial crisis in 2008 who stand to make millions as Royal Mail is flogged off cheaply. No wonder the government has rushed through privatisation, the overwhelming majority of the public do not support the sale. Royal Mail will now dance to the tune of shareholders - spending millions on dividends and fat cat bonuses, while services face terminal decline until the daily delivery to 29 million homes across the UK can no longer be maintained. It will only be a matter of time before jobs are lost and services scaled back as the drive for profit takes over. How long before Royal Mail ends up in need of a taxpayer bailout? Anger is being directed at the Con-Dem coalition but also at Labour, who once again proved they no longer represent workers. At the Labour Party conference, delegates unanimously passed a motion which called on the next Labour government to renationalise Royal Mail. This could have seriously dented the floatation. Yet shamefully the Labour leaders ignored the vote and refused to make such a commitment. A growing number of CWU members are now questioning the link between Labour and the union. The need for a new mass workers' party has become clearer now and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is a step in right direction. The CWU ballot is expected to return a strong 'yes' vote for industrial action when voting closes on 16 October, with strikes likely to take place within weeks. CWU leaders should coordinate joint strike action with all the other unions that are in dispute and bring this weak Tory-led coalition down. Moya Greene receives 72 times the average pay of a postal worker For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk Somerset.SocialistParty

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