Thursday, 22 October 2009

An abuse of power

The UK is today without a postal service. Their 120,000 strong unionised workforce is angry at their management’s reforms of the business and so has gone on strike.

The head of the Communication Workers Union Billy Hayes believes he is in a stronger position than Arthur Scargill and the coalminers in the 1980’s. Hayes has sweetly pointed out that you cannot stockpile post. Hayes and his merry men have threatened more strikes as the festive period approaches. I'm guessing this is a man who never read How to Make Friends and Influence People.

Hayes might have forgotten that the miners’ strike did not end happily. I doubt this one will either.

The world is changing. Indeed the world has already changed. During the Great Strike of 1926, newspapers were not delivered, but there was enormous support for the miners.

Today the support is for the alternative suppliers who are prepared to deliver our mail, and outrage at the postal workers’ action. At the heart of the need for modernisation is the vast change that has swept across all forms of delivery services, namely the internet. Whilst I may not be getting any post today, my inbox is as full as ever and promotional paper mailings are simply being replaced by their electronic email equivalents.

Providing an excellent service that people want to use is the only way that this war will be won: an option the union doesn’t seem to have considered.

Holding the country to ransom, putting up prices and reducing service levels is a strategy that appears to have some serious flaws. Abusing power rarely, if ever, has a good outcome.

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