As was expected, members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have accepted the deal between the CWU and Royal Mail about the modernisation of Royal Mail. No more strikes about pay, working practices and job cuts – but more junk mail for you; the cap on the amount of unaddressed mail postmen have to deliver has now been scrapped.
'What cap', you ask? Well, until yesterday the amount of leaflets Royal Mail could deliver was limited to three items per household per week. That cap has now been lifted. In addition Royal Mail will start delivering door-to-door items on Saturdays and during the busy Christmas period.
The scrapping of the cap was one of the concerns of the 34% of postmen who voted against the deal. Among them is Roy Mayall [Hyperlink to libcom.org removed in June 2012 as the article no longer exists – JB] who quickly realised that the deal would result in deliver more junk mail, for less money:
The new agreement will incorporate the door-to-door into our normal workload, so we will no longer be paid per item. Instead, we are to get a weekly supplement. According to my leaked copy of the agreement – now confirmed – that figure will be £20.60. That is inclusive of the early shift allowance, which is also due to be phased out. In other words, it's a pay cut.
It's even worse for part-timers. The figure is pro-rata. So a part-timer doing a four-hour duty will be getting £10.30, instead of the £30 he currently gets for taking out twice as much stuff, while at the same time receiving half the money of a full-timer doing exactly the same amount of work.
The Big Question, then, is this: will you get more unaddressed junk mail as a result of the deal? Royal Mail insists that removing the cap on leaflet deliveries will not lead to you receiving more junk mail. When the agreement was first announced Royal Mail told BBC News that the company is
looking to increase our market share, not the total number of (junk mail) items.
If that's true the deal is 'only' bad news for a lot of local distribution companies. More likely though is that the increased supply will attract more demand and that you will end up with more junk mail from your postie.