TNT uses strikes to put pressure on Royal Mail

Reading the Guardian today, not because I was on a bus west, but because I sat for 5 hours in a room waiting for advance parole so that I can return to England next month and still be allowed back into the US afterwards.

And in the Guardian I found: very little, in fact. It’s a slow day. Except for this:

TNT, the most aggressive private sector postal services provider, said the wave of industrial action hitting Royal Mail underlined the need for it to develop a full-blown rival service.

TNT is the only company known to have been developing concrete plans to launch a complete rival service including the use of its own postal delivery staff. Its British boss, Nick Wells, said the impetus to proceed with such a project was higher than ever.

That was only a matter of time. I’ve posted before about (a) Royal Mail’s woes, and (b) Royal Mail’s increasing levels of very capable competition. So far, said competitors still have used Royal Mail for the last mile of postal delivery – getting that letter, parcel or package to the door (Royal Mail has the posties, after all). Not for long, it seems.

With no end in sight for the stand-off between Royal Mail and its workers (and the Communications Workers Union, let us not forget), the following two very important things are happening with each strike: (1) Letters sent by the competitors are not arriving, and (2) Royal Mail is, under its contracts with these competitors, protected from legal action (at least to this degree). Meaning if you’re TNT, and you want something done right, you do it yourself.

I figure this for fun: both Royal Mail and TNT have great colours and uniforms, so why not cheer up English streets (no, seriously). It spells a good deal more trouble for Royal Mail: if TNT can get its postal delivery force moving, Royal Mail loses another advantage, and still more contracts to its competitors. Meanwhile its workers face a still more stark choice: take those pay-cuts, or lose your employer altogether.

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