October 13, 2007

A little late, but still pissed off

So Royal Mail and their union have finally reached a deal. No details as yet. But this whole thing has me really pissed off. I really don’t have that much sympathy with them.

1) They are doing themselves out of a job faster by striking.
2) All businesses need to modernise to keep up with the market.
3) Most of the rest of the country only receive their pensions at age 65 anyway.
4) Although I am contracted to work 35 hours a week, if needed I am expected to work longer and receive no extra pay.
5) Apparently a 40 year old worker with 20 years service would lose more than £60,000 if the pension scheme was “scrapped”. Firstly, I’d like to see their definition of “scrapped”, next I would like to see the calcs behind this, and finally, show me a post office worker who has worked for 20 years in the same job and plans on working with them for the next 20 (which I can only assume is what they mean by losing £60,000).
6) They were offered a 6.9% pay rise if they accept the pension and working changes. Bloody hell! That’s HUGE!
7) Finally, the working conditions couldn’t be that bad otherwise they would do what everyone else in the workforce does if they aren’t happy with their job – go and get another one!

Sorry for the rant people, but seriously, I really cannot form any sympathy for them.

Rant at me back explaining their side, but considering the BBC seems to be on their side and not even they can convince me, good luck!

- 33 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Just to look at it from another perspective, but if it were you were a member of a Trade Union and they didn’t fight against possible redundancies for 40,000 of their members and enforced tinkering with the pay, conditions, and pensions of all the rest, wouldn’t you seriously wonder what you paid your subscriptions for?

    13 Oct 2007, 14:27

  2. I would be really interested to know how much postal workers get paid. No where in the news articles does it actually detail this. They can’t possibly be any worse off than lots of other more-skilled workers.

    13 Oct 2007, 16:37

  3. I would be really interested to know how much postal workers get paid. No where in the news articles does it actually detail this. They can’t possibly be any worse off than lots of other more-skilled workers.

    From the Royal Mail website:

    Basic Pay
    As a guide, new employees aged 18 and over will receive basic pay of around £256 a week for full-time hours rising to £285 – £311 after 1 year. This rate will be on a pro-rata basis for part-time hours. Higher rates are paid in Inner and Outer London and in some parts of the South East.

    13 Oct 2007, 16:49

  4. Luke – I agree that the unions are to some extent a good thing, however, as we saw with Rover, if they strike for unreasonable pay increases/pension stuff then the company will go under faster and will have less chance of recovery. My point was that they are wanting more stuff than is reasonable in the long run. As for the pay, I have never done any Royal Mail work, but it doesn’t seem that skilled and I know plenty of people who have lower paid jobs for what seems about the same skill level. What about cleaners? And school dinner ladies/gentlemen?

    13 Oct 2007, 17:00

  5. The thing with pay in something like the Royal Mail is that you want staff who, among other things, can be relied upon to work consistently; and if you want someone like that, you have to pay for them.

    13 Oct 2007, 17:12

  6. Even if it means putting the company under?

    13 Oct 2007, 17:25

  7. To be honest, if you can’t manage to run a company whilst still paying your staff appropriate wages, you deserve to go under.

    13 Oct 2007, 18:00

  8. And by the bye, the salaries are hardly large. The basic level works out at around £13300 pa gross. Even the higher end is only around £16170 pa gross.

    13 Oct 2007, 18:02

  9. So that might indicate one of 2 things – paying too much already for the skills involved or too many staff. I agree with you that the company is run badly, although the staff situation is not helping.

    Also, I did work out the wages, and, again, for the skills (albeit I do not know much about what Royal Mail staff do) I think they are paid ok. Teachers and nurses have far harder jobs and they are only paid marginally more.

    13 Oct 2007, 18:45

  10. Also, if they really are getting a raw deal compared to other companies, then move companies!

    13 Oct 2007, 18:53

  11. Ian

    Bit of a sitting on the fence comment this really….......my sisters husband is a postman, and he crossed the picket line every day last week to go to work – possibly because he felt the strike was absurd, possibly because he is more scared of my sister than the trade unions! Anyway:

    3) Most of the rest of the country sit behind desks until they receive their pensions – most 64 year olds wouldn’t be able to walk the 10 miles carrying a 20kg post bag every morning.
    4) Job flexibility works both ways – postmen are expected to finish their rounds, even if it takes longer than the alloted time for which they are paid. Part of the strike was about the post office wanting to stop them leaving work early if they finished their rounds early – this is just absurd, if they want to work quicker and finish earlier, this should be up to them!

    14 Oct 2007, 16:56

  12. I work in pensions and see a lot of schemes and I can tell you that there are quite a few pension schemes where the workers are manual labourers and the have a retirement age of 65. Also, plenty of those schemes are not fully funded and do not have the government bailing them out if they are. (OK, there’s the PPF, but still nowhere near what the postal workers would receive if their scheme went a bit wobbly.)

    As for job flexibility, if I finish my work early, I have to take on more work until I have worked my hours. As do most other people who work in the private sector.

    15 Oct 2007, 13:13

  13. Ian

    Unless your company are really militant and haven’t yet realised that it is the 21st century, I don’t believe that you have no flexibility in your working hours. As part of the “modernisation” procedure, most business have introduced some flexibility in working hours, so that staff no longer have to be in from 9-5 with a break from 1-2. If you want to be in at 8.30 and leave at 4.30, that is fine, if you only want a 30min lunchbreak, that too is fine.

    This is the exact freedom that the post office is trying to remove from employees – making them work 6-2 with an enforced break, whereas most (brother-in-law included) prefer to start earlier, not have a break and finish by midday.

    Anyway, on the basis I have had no post for a week, I agree that the lazy gits should stop whinging and get back to work! Its not as if you see PhD students striking over our lack of pension scheme….....

    15 Oct 2007, 14:05

  14. I think the “enforced” working hours are actually something to do with a law change coming in, but then again, I could be all wrong.

    As for PhD students… they pay no tax, they pay no national insurance, and they are still as lazy as undergrads until the month leading up to their hand in date as far as I can see :p

    15 Oct 2007, 17:44

  15. Ian

    Damn right – no one would notice if we went on strike…

    15 Oct 2007, 20:16

  16. Slackers… I pay your funding… and all that crap people usually say.

    15 Oct 2007, 21:11

  17. As far as I’m aware if you work more than four hours in a row you are entitled to a half hour break, which you should take/your employer should enforce. If postal workers are working in excess of a four hour stretch they are entitled to those breaks – it’s interesting that instead of this being seen as a positive workers-protection step in legislation it has been viewed by the Postal Unions as a threat to their way of life.

    15 Oct 2007, 21:30

  18. Ian

    They already are entitled to the break – nothing new is being added. They are simply having the freedom to “move that break” to the end of their shift removed. I imagine that if it was pissing down with rain, you wouldn’t want to stop work for 30mins and sit around doing nothing in wet clothes, when you could finish 30mins earlier and be home in bed.

    16 Oct 2007, 09:24

  19. But likewise when I worked ina place where that was the rule and I was meant to work 12-5, I couldn’t choose to have my break at half past four and just leave! Very few people can. I have been at work on a number of occasions and been drenched – particularly one occasion where I had wet feet from 10am onwards, and it’s not pleasant but few people have the luxury to just skip off home to get changed. You do what you can to sort the situation, and you carry on.

    16 Oct 2007, 17:09

  20. Ian

    I agree totally with you that in most other jobs you don’t get that freedom – in that respect it was a very forward thinking system the Royal Mail did have and I can understand why people are annoyed about it being removed (although as I said before, I agree with Liz that they shouldn’t be striking).

    Must be making my way up the “random” blog commenters league table for this one….

    17 Oct 2007, 09:34

  21. Amit

    I would like to see the calcs behind this

    Such a nerd. ;-)

    21 Oct 2007, 14:59

  22. Amit

    As far as I’m aware if you work more than four hours in a row you are entitled to a half hour break

    I believe the legal minimum is actually a mere 20mins every six hours. Most employers generously offer comfortably in excess of this, so 15mins within a four hour shift or 30mins within a six hour shift could be considered “the norm”.

    However, most employers DO NOT leave it up to the employee to decide when to take this break. In many workplaces, there is a need for a certain number of people to be working at any one time, in order to maintain service levels and overall productivity etc. So the employer is forced to determine employees’ break times and stagger them so that they are evenly distributed over the period of operation. I personally don’t think this is unfair at all. Otherwise the entire workforce could decide to take their break at the same time and that might cause the universe to implode.

    Maybe I’m just refusing to side with the postal workers because, like Elizabeth says above, I’m also expected to work longer than contracted if needed, without extra pay. These postal workers have it easy.

    21 Oct 2007, 15:21

  23. Ian

    Amit, you earn about 4 times what an average postman does, you don’t really have a leg to stand on suggesting that you should get paid overtime – your salary reflects the amount of work expected of you, and that happens to be more than 8 hours a day!

    21 Oct 2007, 19:27

  24. Liz S

    All the same, Ian, I know someone who works in law and when she was training the hours she was working meant that hour for hour she was getting paid less than someone who worked in MacDonalds.

    22 Oct 2007, 08:53

  25. Ian

    Hour for hour I probably get about the same as someone who works in McDonalds…..

    22 Oct 2007, 09:21

  26. Liz S

    My point there being that a skilled job with those type of hours should have a salary that reflects those hours. PhDs included.

    22 Oct 2007, 12:10

  27. Liz S

    Also my point being that some people do not know how well off they are.

    22 Oct 2007, 12:26

  28. Jay

    Hi, the thing is you never see a fat postman, also you rarely see a fat Asian and some asians are quite fanciable to. This is how shallow I am.

    22 Oct 2007, 13:00

  29. Amit

    It must therefore be ultra-rare to see a fat Asian postman. Rare squared, assuming independence.

    22 Oct 2007, 21:47

  30. Sue

    Hello gorgeous.

    22 Oct 2007, 23:53

  31. gavin

    Hi can anyone help me please.
    I work for M&S And i for from 5.30 – 9.30pm and on my feet the whole four hours. Am i entitled to a break? Because at work it puts me down as no break.

    19 Nov 2007, 15:20

  32. gavin

    Hi can anyone help me please.
    I work for M&S And i for from 5.30 – 9.30pm and on my feet the whole four hours. Am i entitled to a break? Because at work it puts me down as no break.

    That doesn’t meck sense – so here’s the clear version :D

    I work for M&S and i work from 5.30 – 9.30pm and im on my feet for the whole four hours. Am i entitled to a break? At work it has put me down as no break period – but surely if i work that long i can have a 10/20 min break?


    19 Nov 2007, 15:24

  33. No.If you worked more than four hours you would be entitled to a break, but a fout hour shift needs not be broken with breaks.

    19 Nov 2007, 21:05

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