POOR PERFORMANCE POST SERVICE FACES JOB CUT THREAT
December 20, 2001
The town's service was put under the microscope a three weeks ago by consumer watchdog Postwatch after
public complaints soared. It was ranked alongside Portsmouth, Swindon and Bath as the worst in the south.
Representations made by Postwatch were investigated by the Postal Services Commission (Postcomm), which identified a shortage of workers as the main reason for failing to provide the town with a consistent daily delivery.
And with Consignia intent on saving £1.2 billion in costs, it could be a long, bleak winter for posties and those in Wokingham reliant on a first class mail delivery service — even if the town's service is unaffected by the threatened cuts.
John Roberts, chief executive of Consignia, told the House of Commons Trade and Industry select committee the cuts would bring the firm into line with its international competitors and that the second post for residential mail would be scrapped — little consolation for a town with an already struggling service.
He said: "We haven't finalised the numbers we are looking at. But if we produce the £1.2 billion, we could be looking at anything up to 30,000 redundancies."
But any threat of a nationwide strike, which could have brought the town's beleaguered service to its knees, was dispelled last Thursday after the Communication Workers Union (CWU) thrashed out a deal with Consignia meaning there would be no compulsory redundancies.
John Keggie, CWU deputy general secretary, said Consignia top brass told him the figure of 30,000 job losses was "speculative arithmetic".
He said: "We are delighted that we have reached an agreement so our members know that no-one can put them out of a job. Any job losses will be dealt with through collective bargaining and on a voluntary basis.
"It is a good agreement — Consignia has taken compulsory redundancies off the table and restored job security undertakings."