Up to 20,000 postal workers in Britain are likely to lose their jobs after the Royal Mail posted a £120-million loss in its letters and parcels business largely as a result of more people abandoning the system in favor of internet communications.
According to reports, about 65,000 full and part-time postal jobs have vanished since 2002, including 5,500 in the past year alone.
This reflects the reduction on daily mail volume – from 80-million just five years ago, to 62-million currently -- a 20 percent decline, according to the Daily Telegraph.
This volume is expected to keep falling by 5 percent annually.
Moreover, the number of mail processing centers is expected to be cut in half over the next few tears (from 64 to 32). Each such center can employ anywhere from 500 to 1000 people.
Moya Greene, Royal Mail’s chief executive, told British media that the average Briton is spending only £18 each year on postage, while text-messaging and email is becoming the dominant form of personal communication.
Greene warned of significant job losses and center closures
With the decline in our volumes, we are going to be a smaller company in the future than we are today, she said, according to the Telegraph.
The next two years will be challenging. We need to reduce our costs faster than the decline in revenues from our core letter business. The pace of change in our mail centers will continue. We expect that around half of the mail centers could close by 2016/17.
The Communication Workers Union expressed its concerns and said the poor results reflect the damage that British postal services have suffered due to competition, according to the Telegraph.
Nobody should be surprised at these results,” said the union’s deputy general secretary Dave Ward.
“We are paying the price for the previous government decision to introduce competition in a way that has effectively set Royal Mail up to fail. The reality is we have a regulatory regime that allows private companies to access the profitable parts of Royal Mail's network and then dump the fixed-cost final-mile delivery back to Royal Mail. No company in the world would be successful in this environment.”
Ward added: Royal Mail's biggest challenge is to recognize that postal workers are working harder than ever and are now at a tipping point. We understand the need to modernize the company, but Royal Mail must accept that people come first and the pace of change can only be dictated by what people can cope with. Recent developments including a new business plan linked to further job losses and privatization are completely at odds with the shared vision of modernization agreed with the company last year.”
Ward further warned of a possible strike.
If Royal Mail and the Government press on regardless then the prospect of national industrial action is looming, he said.