Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Post Boxes

In England, if we live in a village, town or city, we take it for granted that there will be a Royal Mail post box within walking distance. We can also expect there will be a minimum of one daily collection, except on Sundays, Bank holidays and Christmas Day . We grumble and grind our teeth when the cost of posting a letter goes up, and we vow to use emails wherever possible. In these times of change and financial restraint, Royal Mail Holdings plc is undergoing a severe testing and the employees are relieved that the Bill in Parliament last June to partially privatise the limited company was postponed due to the recession. Last year (2008-9), the combined holdings of Royal Mail made a profit of £321m*, but that’s nothing to clap hands about; they will need to do much better.

Situations are for ever changing, and despite the fact that the ‘Royal’ postal service can trace its beginning back to the time of Henry VIII, there’s no guarantee that Royal Mail will dominate the delivery industry, or even survive, as aggressive competitors undercut and increase their stranglehold. In protest against modernization and changing practices, postal workers have been on strike in parts of London, causing huge stockpiles of mail, and there are warnings of more strikes to come. The crippling effects of such actions will inevitably have repercussions, such as loss of revenue and loss of customers who will find other mail delivery providers. Therefore take a look at the post boxes in your area, because they could disappear, just as the old red phone boxes have gone for ever. Where I live, I can choose from any of 4 Royal Mail post boxes, all within easy walking distance, one being less than 100 yards from my front door, but for how long will this be?

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