Postal workers could refuse to deliver post sent via anyone other than Royal Mail due to "unfair competition" from competitors who can "cherry-pick" their delivery routes, and are under no obligation to deliver to rural homes, which costs more money.
Postal workers could refuse to deliver post sent via anyone other than Royal Mail as part of a campaign to highlight a threat to the UK's universal service, union leaders warned today. In response, a Royal Mail spokesperson said:
All of the mail that we handle is important to us and needs to be delivered, as we always do, six days a week. It is vital to all of us at Royal Mail, to Royal Mail as a business and most importantly to our customers, that the post is delivered.
We are concerned about the impact of unfettered direct delivery competition on Royal Mail. Currently, competitors are allowed to 'cherry-pick' higher density, more profitable routes in urban areas and ignore lower density rural areas where delivery is more costly.
Under the universal service obligation, Royal Mail is required to deliver a service, with published Quarterly Standards of Service. Competitors are not currently required to meet any regulated service standards, and do not need to maintain the high, fixed cost network that Royal Mail needs to fulfil its obligations.
Competition on deliveries is "undermining" the same-price-goes-anywhere universal service, with companies other than Royal Mail not having to meet service standards or pay decent wages, said Billy Hayes, general secretary of the CWU:
"Under unfair competition we've seen prices rise, services diminish, closures and job losses. Competition and privatisation are old-fashioned theories which have had their day. What's important is decent services and jobs and that's what we're standing up for."