This is the Night Mail crossing the border/Bringing the cheque and the postal order

Britain’s Royal Mail, which can date itself back to 1516 and Henry VIII, has had a rough time, just lately.

Famous for losing one’s post (around 14.4m letters each year), some of which can be recovered using other methods such as re-purchasing them on eBay (no, but I wish I was joking), Royal Mail lost part of Amazon’s business, yesterday (the announcement, anyway). Amazon has decided to retain Royal Mail’s services for first-class post, but no longer use it for second-class post.

New kid on the block UK Mail has picked up the GBP8m worth of business – just as it did earlier this year when it found the favour of

  • The Department of Work and Pensions
  • BT
  • British Gas
  • HSBC
  • LLoyds
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland
  • The BBC

This also doesn’t include the likes of Centrica, and the remainder of the Lloyd’s gig, which went to a Dutch company (TNT). This comes after Royal Mail lost its 350 year-old monopoly only last year. Unfortunately for Royal Mail it’s been losing contracts due to a ‘failure to modernise’ – which it might have had the time and money to get done had postal regulator Postcomm left the monopoly in place the extra 15 months – I doubt Royal Mail was exactly prepared for that.

Royal Mail is in the news again only today after the long-heralded postal strike – the first in a decade – is on for June 29. With another strike within a fortnight if nothing satisfactory comes of the first. The Communications Workers Union went for the strike after getting nowhere with Royal Mail’s 2.5% pay offer, and without satisfactory assurance over fears that restructuring will shed some 40,000 jobs.

Given Royal Mail lost its monopoly and seems to have done little since but lose contracts and esteem, I’d say either job losses are unavoidable, or Royal Mail’s bankruptcy is. The effect that the strike(s) will have on confidence in the surety of Royal Mail’s services won’t help in the least, either. I don’t know how the workforces of UK Mail or TNT are fixed for salaries, unionisation, etc. It certainly doesn’t look like Royal Mail’s troubles are over just yet, though.

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