You've got to love the Royal Mail union members. Postal workers have just started the first of two 48 hour strikes following a break down in negotiations about a dispute between the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Royal Mail.
Essentially, the CWU are not happy with Royal Mail's pay rise offer of 2.5% and neither are they happy with Royal Mail's modernisation plans, which they believe will result in about 40000 job losses.
I can understand Royal Mail's position. They need to remain competitive now that the postal market has been opened up to competition and they're not a bottomless money pit. They need to become a lean-mean postal machine, and this may result in job losses and less than desirable pay rises. I wish I could get a 2.5% pay rise.
The part I don't understand is the CWU's side of things. I really don't think they've thought about this too hard.
At the moment, Royal Mail's biggest income comes from businesses - not the average Joe on the street buying 1 or 2 first class stamps. Now if the postal workers go on strike, businesses are going to seek the services of Royal Mail's new competitors.
There's a very good chance, these competitors are going to jack up their business in an attempt to prove to their new customers that they really don't need Royal Mail anymore. This in turn is going to result in the businesses sticking with the competitors, and thus Royal Mail loses even more business, which means less money, and more job losses.
So in effect, the CWU's strike action is effectively driving them closer and closer to losing their jobs and the 2.5% pay rise they've been offered and potentially the final demise of Royal Mail.
Seems very silly to me.
If the CWU aren't happy now, imagine how pissed off they'd be if normal mail delivery became like the supply of utilities like electricity or broadband. I can imagine things changing such that the only difference to the public is which stamps they buy. The same post boxes and sorting depots would be used, but different companies would deliver based on which stamp is on the letter.
Now that would give Royal Mail a real run for their money.