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Blogs seem to join up different issues. Climate Change. Working conditions. I’ve got various tags, categories and trends on this one now. The future of the Royal Mail and it’s staff is something I keep coming back to. Things have quietened down on the news front as far as the postal strike is concerned, but that doesn’t mean the issues go away.

The blogger Roy Mayall is featured on Radio 4’s Book of the Week “Dear Granny Smith” this week. Catch up with it in the Radio 4 archive. Billy Hayes (General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union) is discussing some of the issues Roy raises on the BBC Radio 4 consumer affairs programme “You and Yours”.

As for me, on this last day of the Climate Change talks in Copenhagen – I’m thinking – if they scrapped the Royal Mail’s current transport infrastructure altogether (including all it’s bicycles) – surely that would mean increasing carbon counts all round?

For some of my previous blog posts on this subject click on the categories  Royal Mail and Postal Strike.

Update:

I’ve just listened to the You and Yours BBC Radio 4 programme I mentioned earlier. The following points occurred to me. Firstly, I think the speakers underestimated the cultural (and political) impact of Roy Mayall’s work. From what I know of the postal service (having worked there myself) and from conversations with postal workers Roy is not simply presenting a sentimental view of what is happening, but he is also analysing current problems, some of which are hugely relevant to the recent postal strike and the current negotiations taking place.

Roy writes about walk-sequencing machines. He actually says they help the workload ‘a bit’ but not very much.  This is a really, really important point, which none of the speakers picked up on, I felt. It echoes what other postal workers have told me about the ways in which machines are being used (or not) and how effective (or ineffective) they actually are. See this post which I wrote during the strike. It includes a quote from a CWU union rep. Surely the question we need to be asking is: “How useful are they?”.

If you listen to this programme carefully you will hear one of the speakers say that the closure of mail centres will be a part of the ‘modernisation’ process. I’d like to hear what postal workers have to say about that one.

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Postal worker/blogger Roy Mayall (pseudonym) holds forth on ‘modernisation’ in ‘The Guardian’ (see also my posts: “Is modernisation the real issue?” and “Postal Union heads for High Court”.

Roy says: “The reason this strike is unique is that it has nothing to do with pay. It is about the future of the Royal Mail itself – us postal workers are being portrayed as like dinosaurs clinging to our outdated and outmoded working practices. What the Royal Mail needs is a good dose of modernisation, we are told…

…I guess it depends on what you mean by “modernisation”. At times, the so-called “modernisation programme” is a farce. I know of someone working in a delivery office in Cambridgeshire who was in tears recently. Apparently he had been given 100 extra calls to make on his daily round but couldn’t fit them into his shift. His manager told him he was going to receive “refresher training”. When he asked what this involved, the manager replied: “How to walk faster…”

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