Tuesday 18 January 2011


In November Royal Mail introduced a controversial new delivery system called the Way Forward at its Dundee East depot. The idea is that workers are teamed up to deliver letters and parcels from vans rather than individual rounds.

Unfortunately, and I really mean unfortunately, the system has not worked and workers have been unable to complete their deliveries on time: they have been returning with undelivered mail which has piled up in the sorting office.

Although measures were taken to draft in managers from other depots for sorting duties, dispatching mail to other depots for sorting and Sunday deliveries, they have not brought a solution. Additionally the Christmas rush and the inevitable intake of temporary staff requiring management time did not help.

I don’t know anyone who has not had some expected items of mail delivered late or indeed completely missing. In some cases it is Christmas cards, which whist mildly irritating is not life and death. In other cases, credit card statements have gone missing causing people a considerable amount of difficulty, embarrassment and possibly money!

Small packages too are missing. I am awaiting one with goods to the value of £50 which the sender emailed me to say was posted 2 weeks ago.

Businesses have suffered with invoices and cheques going missing. Even the local MP’s letter of complaint to the postmaster went missing and he was forced to make a further complaint and request for an appointment by email.

In the middle of January the post is still shambolic.

Now as the nearest I’ve ever been to being a postman, is to redeliver post wrongly put through my door, I do not consider myself an expert in these matters. However, it seems to this untrained mind that, if you have one very busy period in the year, and that busy period takes place in a period of relatively inclement weather, and that your business is largely dependent on transport and outdoor work, it might be a good idea to introduce new systems as far away from that period as is possible.

Just a thought.

And they want someone to buy this heap of garbage?


  1. I am still waiting on something I ordered the start of December. Granted it was coming from America, but that's nearly two months now! :(

    I wouldn't put the blame on the postpeople themselves though, they're trapped within a system that actively opposes them getting more hours, sick pay, etc. The Royal Mail is run for the bosses, not the customer or the worker.

  2. I'm certainly not blaming the postmen Laz. I was up at the collection place the other and people were incandescent, and we were trying to say to them... it's not the lads' faults, it's the daft witted management.

  3. The malign effect of the EU on the Post Office is often forgotten. It is no longer a national institution but a "player" in an EU wide market for postal services. Previously, everyone paid the same for a stamp - whether it was it was for a private letter from (literally ) Lands End to John o' Groats or the electricity company buying millions.

    Because the EU enshrines the principle of competition, it allows the electricity company and the junk mailers to shop around for service providers (like DHL) who will undercut the standard Royal Mail price for volume, then deliver the mail sorted into large postal areas to the Royal Mail who are compelled to do the final delivery at a fraction of their usual price.

    It is this "cherry picking" which has taken much of the lifeblood out of the business. The continental post offices were geared up with their own marketing arms to to take advantage of this.

    The final handover to a private company is part of an EU wide programme called "the enabling state" in which governments (down to local level) will contract out most of their services to private contractors. This has already been done in the East Riding of Yorkshire where a German company, part of the Bertelsmann group, has taken over virtually all administrative tasks.

    Eventually, nearly all administrative and public tasks (and things like the NHS) will be carried out in this way by contractors who owe loyalty for the existence of their "market" to the EU - and they will be right at the heart of the administration of every member state.

    Post Office/Royal Mail management has not been noticeably bright and they do have a problem with their unionised work force which has been slow to recognise and publicise the situation they are in.

    Incidentally, the changes a year or two back where envelopes and packets are measured for size, thickness and not just weight were also the result of EU requirements.

  4. Ah concur wi ye're concerns tris, it's a bit rubbish this thing they cry a postal service. Noo, ah dinnae get muckle post, but whit ah dae get ah happen tae think's important. Ah've been waitin fer stuff tae dae wi hospital appointments an scans, an ah've been gettin quite stressed no kennin if it's late, gaun missin, or jist slow oan account o oor health service. If ye dinnae ken which it is ye cannae go makin a fuss, ken whit ah mean?

    Ma scan appointment came in this mornin, posted First Class fower days ago, fer an appointment next week! Ye dinnae get much leeway wi these things so ye depend on a first class service.

    Pity we've no got yin...

  5. I do not accept that the problems in the royal mail is due necessarily to the fact that the EU asked for an end to monopoly provision.

    As was usually the case on these islands, it was how competition was introduced that proved to cause problems.

    The fact that the royal mail is still obliged by law to deliver every letter in a universal service, whereas private firms are not is the clear imbalance. Thus, let us not make the mistake that Edward here is making, by ending competition. No, the answer is to extend universal service obligations to private firms who wish to operate in the market.

    I do wonder however, if Edward is merely using this as a chance to attack the European Union, out of some kind of core, ideological europhobia.

  6. Tris,

    To respond directly to your posting however; I agree with your main point that management in the Royal Mail has long been the bane of the service - from my experience it has a history of confrontational management style, and general poor performance.

    Just my experience as I say.

  7. Well yes, Mr S I agree that the desire for public services to be "privatised" is a bad idea and the postal one certainly originates in Brussels.

    However, I have to say that their desire for that seems to coincide with Mrs Thatcher’s and Mr Major’s, Mr Blair’s and Lord Voldermorte’s. And only yesterday I heard our beloved leader from London telling us about how competition in health and education (not ours fortunately) was the only way forward to making money... oh no sorry he said to providing good services, but what he meant was, for making money. No matter how many people who actually work in these areas tell him it’s a dangerous nonsense, he, his health secretary and his education secretary know best.

    So what I’m saying is that, just for once, the UK seems to be in tune with what the EU wants.

    Just between us, I can’t help thinking that is someone from Denmark came over here and ran our council, any change would only be for the better.

  8. Sophia: that is the problem. People depend on the post, as they do on so many other things.
    Even before these idiots decided to try out a new system just before Christmas, sometimes appointments for such as scans and admissions were arriving the day after the event was supposed to take place.

    They say that competition will improve the system and make them cheaper. Just like it improved the buses and the trains, electricity, gas.....and made them cheaper?


    I hope your scan goes well. If it's at the Royal, I have to say the service is superb!

  9. You could have a very good point there Dean. We seem to have an extremely cack handed way of doing things here.

    I have to say that trains for example are a complete joke in the UK, whereas the private system in Germany is efficient and fast, and the state run SNCF in France is fabulous. Switzerland has a mixture of private and publicly run trains and they too are simply amazing.

    I imagine that if we had left the privatization to someone other than the British Civil Service, we might have had a train system that didn’t cost twice as much as it used to (both in subsidies and fares...) and isn’t worse than it used to be. The most expensive and worst in Europe in no proud boast.

    And your experience of the Royal Mail and mine is much the same.

    Mr S mentions the union, which I’d agree indeed intransigent. On the other hand, the pay rises taken by the senior management, for running one of the least efficient postal systems in Europe, are hardly a good example to them.

  10. I freely own up to a sense out outrage at what our politicians have subjected us to in the EU. I used to be rather in favour of it in a fuzzy sort of way. My real education started in 1972 when I was co-opted as a trade representative onto a Min of Ag and Fish Committee, charged with implementing the Common Agricultural Policy. I had never come across anything quite so wickedly wasteful of resources and clean contrary British interests before - and utterly batty to boot. Since then, every EEC/EU stone I have turned over has had something nastier under it.

    I don't blame the EU but our treacherous political class. We have done it all to ourselves through people we continue to -elect. They look like us and talk like us but work to an agenda (or rather series of agendas) decided elsewhere.

    I was in Central Lobby on the day when a petition about the Post Office with over 4 million signatures was delivered. The place was packed with people lobbying their MPs. I was with a small group of quite sound MPs concerning another matter. "How many of our colleagues" I asked "will tell these good people "Sorry, nothing we can do. It's all governed by two EU Directives now"?" They looked a bit awkward and said that they did not suppose any MP would say that but had to agree it was true. I knew that HMG was under notice from the EU Commission to close so many Post Offices but MPs would deceive people and sign local petitions about Post Offices in their own constituencies, knowing that it would make not a jot of difference to the overall total. The whole event was a fraud on the electors who had given up their day to seek redress from their representatives. The sad thing was that, later on, I spoke to some who thought they had received a fair hearing and asserted their democratic rights! It was a total fraud on them - Their representatives could do nothing as long as they obeyed their parties.

    One of the reasons that things go so badly wrong here is, of course, that we not only stick slavishly to the EU rules but our civil servants like to "gold plate" them. In other EU countries the rules are, by and large, ignored when they don't suit. Germany, for instance, is building a whole new series of coal fired power stations with no nonsense about "carbon capture".

    Incidentally, a German colleague of mine has just the same complaints about their Post Office - and railways too since they were privatised to some extent. Apparently services do not connect with each other like they used to.

  11. I must admit to knowing nothing about the machinations of it Mr S.

    I know that for a while it paid my salary, and that the work that we were doing was, because of the EU money, able to be spread over the whole of Dundee, rather than just small sections. (By EU standards the whole of Dundee, bar a few exclusive post codes, was poor, whereas according to British measures, there were only 4 council estates, virtual no go areas, that could be said to be poor).

    Of course, the EU measure was right and the UK one wrong, and i don’t say that because I was paid by the money. It quite simply is the truth. While there is money around Dundee, virtually all the high earners from the University and hospital, live out with the town, and there isn’t much else that pays well.

    Of course I have long understood (although never really known) but people keep telling me that no one else in the EU pays a blind bit of attention to anything that Brussels says, and that the UK and Scotland follow every instruction to the letter, and then complain bitterly about it.

    I’m not being facetious here; I’m genuinely somewhat amazed by the whole thing.

    I have always said ...why not come out? It seems that, according to everyone else (but me) the EU is a force for evil. So why do politicians regardless of the rhetoric before the elections, on every occasion, specially the Tories, tell the voters that they will stand firm against them, limit their power, bring power back to England, and then, when they get in sign up to yet another treaty that apparently takes all power away from London, until one wonders why we have 50 of the greedy thieving bastards in the House of Commoners never mind 650 who keep on telling us how hard they work and how much they have to do.

    Why don’t we just get rid of them all and leave the British civil service, such as it is, to work for the EU government. I mean I realise that it would be distasteful to take orders from foreigners; god knows they hate it when it is a Scot that is giving them orders, never mind someone who actually speaks another language. But they’d never leave and give up the K and the seat in the Lords.

    Talking of which, why do we have to have all of them, as they all have nothing to do?

    I’m just totally mystified. Of course as a Scot, I think that the imperial nonsense in London is a waste of money. They make up their minds about our lives without ever having been here or knowing anything about us.

    I say we (Scotland) come out of the EU and out of the UK. Like Norway, we should stand alone.

  12. "I say we (Scotland) come out of the EU and out of the UK. Like Norway, we should stand alone."

    Endorsed where do I sign.

    Got a xmas card last week! The PO have been going down the tubes for decades by mismanagement started by Thatcher and her privatisation policies.

    Everything that is vital for the populace should be in public hands as that is the only way that society can become fairer, one caveat would be that Labour and Tory public servants should be excluded from any involvement after bendy Wendy and taxi Mcletchie's disgraceful behaviour last week.

  13. Withdraw from the EU? Now who is being a daft twit?

    Get real, a Federal Europe is not only necessary, but totally unavoidable. It is called progress, and no amount of europhobic bile shall be permitted to hold up the advancement of European civilisation.

  14. In the UK we should be in the EU Dean. Out of it Scotland doesn't need it...in my humble opinion.

  15. Interesting looking book. I feel sorry for Cornwall CH. The special tax status that should be for Cornish people (just like those of the other dependencies around the country) is given only to their beloved (not) duke, who uses it to placate his crocodile and indulge his ridiculously extravagant tastes while ordinary people in the duchy go hungry and cold. I spit on him. For all I’m poor I couldn’t see another person in my area go hungry and cold. He sits up there in a house that we’ve paid for raking in state money and Cornish money and living like he already was the bloody king... having ordered Osborne to cut him slack on income. And we’ve not only to pay for his security but also that of his “wife” who was his tart until recently.

    Who can forget the indecent telephone calls picked up because he was stupid enough to make them on a cell? And he wants to be the king. I’ve no great time for his mother, but she’s 100 times the person he is.

    A pox on him...

  16. Oh what did the bent one with the supersize mouth and the taxi man get up to last week? (Tell me it wasn't together....!!! Please) yuckkkkk

  17. tris,

    Talking about the taxi man, I was collecting my morning rolls from Greggs in Milngavie and noticed that McLetchie and some of his chums were waiting to walk the West Highland Way. I asked him, quite politely I thought, why he was walking instead of taking a taxi and he was quite rude. I've never voted Tory since.

  18. Its a real laugh what this daft coalition proposes for the Post Office:

    Firstly, keep the crap bits that cost a fortune as nobody would want to buy them (not even Santander or China!) i.e. the pension black hole. So Joe Public gets to keep paying for that.

    Secondly, sell off the good bits that make a profit to whoever has a slush fund of spare money in these straigtened times i.e, the rich! Never mind that in its current form it actually belongs to all of us. make sure the keep the Queens head and have to fulfil the universal delivery (for now!!)

    Thirdly, let the employees buy the other bit (at a discount), that has the potential to make money with a bit of a huge bribe from the government. Then they can see it on to Santander in a year or two and make a killing.

    Another great privatisation idea from the Tories. Almost as good as the last one?....Oh no that was a disaster (BR 1996 RIP!)

  19. Dean
    Withdraw from the EU? Now who is being a daft twit?

    I don't think your in any position to call anyone a 'twit' and it says more about yourself. As you're so in favour of supporting an undemocratic EU can you show our benefit of being a full member.

  20. Fancy a Tory being rude john. How awful! But you must realise that you're only an ordinary person, so you needn't expect more. Have you seen Sophia's story? Corker!

  21. I was vaguely disquieted, Munguin, about the Queen's head going on what really is (or will be) the receipt of a private company. Not because I feel that the Queen’s head has a huge reverence, and frankly if and when she is succeeded by that “ghastly little man”, who looks more like he’s her father than her son, and the crocodile with which he’s been co-habiting, I couldn’t give a damn what happens to the royal head... (hatchets come to mind) but more because it is shouldn’t be a symbol of a sleazy company trying to make money.

    It’s been a symbol of a service run by the state for the people... and then I think about how corrupt the civil service is, and the courts and the police... and how most of them are probably in hock to Rupert Murdoch, and I think...what the hell.

  22. No doubt given time they will get rid of Brenda's head or old big ears when he gets his turn and replace it with that of Alfredo Sáenz Abad the CEO of the Santander Group or President Hu Jintao of China, for all I care they could use Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck!

    Suffice to say we get to keep the crap bits while the rich get to make another killing buying up an institution that hitherto belonged to all of us at a discount and selling it on at a premium to Santander or China!

    What a wonderful idea! Just like the last one remember that? When John Major told us all that private train operators would require less subsidy, and competition would mean better, faster, cleaner and cheaper trains! He got none of that right did he, well worth that Knighthood I'd say!

  23. A couple of further points on this, then I'll shut up

    "EU MONEY" We get no such thing. We just get a bit of our own money back.

    "EUROPEAN CIVILISATION" I translated a German book "Europaeische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft" (European Economic Community) a compilation of papers by leading politicians, diplomats, industrialists etc. It described a set up remarkably like the one we have today - apart from the fact that the euro was called the "Europagulden" (European guilder) and the "Europabank" was to be in Berlin. The book was printed in Berlin in 1942. The lead author was Walther Funk, Hitler's Minister for the Economy, President of the Reichsbank and Minister for Post War Planning. You have to ask the question about the EU "Cui bono?" Certainly not the UK, England or Scotland.
    Good night, Vienna!

  24. Yes Munguin. Well worth a Knight of the Garter too...the second top one. No cheap crap for John Major getting everything wrong.

  25. Thanks for that CH... Labour are a set of ignorant boors.

  26. Mr S... You don't have to shut up. I may not agree with all you say, as you don't with me, but I hope I have to good manners to hear you out. :)

    The Germans are it seems a most resourceful lot and what they couldn't achieve militarily (and let’s face it, they were fighting the British Empire, America and Russia), so it would be a BIG job, they appear to be capable of achieving financially.

    Of course I'd rather that they did it that way.

    It a lot less bloody, and we could profit by it instead of being obliged to fight against it.

    i wouldn't mind Angela Merkel telling us what to do, God only knows the fool Cameron hasn't the foggiest idea.

    But I don't think an independent Scotland would be best served in Europe and when the time comes i will vote not to go in.

    Maybe one day the English will get a prime Minister with the cojones to take England out too.... but I doubt it. The American president wouldn’t like it. Scots First Ministers don't care too much about that. English Prime Ministers seem to wet themselves at the very thought. LOL

    Anyway... to reiterate. Say what you want on here Mr S. I'll always listen. You're clearly a very educated man...I could learn stuff! I am of course rather opinionated, ;¬) but not above learning something.

  27. Chiming in with another personal observation; I am currently being taken into debt by eBay because the Royal Mail has either lost the parcel I sent Jan 1st, or the person who received it is lying. £80 I can not afford, especially in Janurary.

  28. That's bad Laz. Is there not a tracking system? What do the ebay authorities say about it?

  29. eBay themselves haven't gotten involved yet, I have time to 'seek a resolution' which is just a huge warning from eBay that I should refund it. Asking at my branch today if they can help, and God knows what'll happen if they can't :/

  30. You have to try to contact Royla Mail.. tell them the story.