Is anyone surprised by the news that Royal Mail profits have fallen by 21 percent in the first half of this year?
Before we start to dissect the scandal of RM recent history we have to remember that it is still a very profitable company and its shares are still selling above the giveaway price to which the Government treated global investors last year.
However, yesterday Moya Green, the Royal Mail CEO, warned that the Universal Service Obligation will have to be re-visited if the present competitive free for all is allowed to continue.So postal competition- in reality a financial scam for divvying up assets-means that Britain is likely to receive a worse postal service than we did when the company was a public service. Now who could have predicted that? Apart, that is, from everyone who is not a purblind neo-liberal or has a financial interest in ripping off a once publicly owned institution.
Royal Mail is obliged to deliver to all 29m addresses in the UK from Monday to Saturday, for a fixed price. New entrants to the market do not have this restriction. Its an absolute free card for cherry picking and companies like the ludicrously named Whistl- as was TNT- are taking full advantage of it.It’s aggressively pursuing Royal Mail in London and Manchester but not in Cape Wrath or Lands End, obviously. It even pursues Royal Mail in the courts- mounting an unsuccessful challenge earlier this to RM’s VAT exemption(given because it delivers a social service across the country).
The postal union , the CWU, is today asking the postal regulator Ofcom to do its statutory duty and review the threat that competition poses to the universal postal service to perform its primary statutory duty by urgently reviewing the threat competition poses to the universal postal service.
The scandal of Royal Mail- once a public body which united the kingdom in the idea of equal service, dedication by postal workers, commitment to literal delivery come rain or shine- is that it is owned by investors whose names we are not allowed to know, forced to hand over many of its functions to companies which use ill trained staff, and is facing a future where its territory will be under constant siege . And the service to us will get worse and worse.
This is the reality of the Government’s careless belief that the global elite has the right to get its dibs on our public realm for private profit. Royal Mail, an institution that served the country for 500 years, is its most prominent victim.