Mon, 20/06/2011 - 13:00

In our medium sized delivery office we are now in week five of our revision using the “new delivery methods” (NDM). Our office has been divided into three phases: phase one starting five weeks before phase two and ten weeks before phase three.

These are HCT (high capacity trolleys; one postie pushing up to 105kgs) and shared vans (two workers in a van taking post with them and using golf cart-type trolleys to deliver). All bikes will be scrapped. I'm neither for nor against bikes generally but our patch has decided that there will be no bikes no matter the reason even if they are more efficient, cost effective or better for the health of the workers. And what a shambles it is because of this as well.

The revisions are based on both indoor and outdoor revision tools (computer programmes) used to 'optimise production' in the office or, as we all know at the sharp end, to cull our jobs.

The IWT (indoor work tool) is a “flexible” programme where information can be put in and the programme then works out how much work you can achieve indoors on any given day. It is primarily based on traffic figures which management get by using what is called a 'model week'. Management then base work for the rest of the year on that week. Obviously, a light week is often chosen.

Every second of our time indoors is worked out but bosses take no account of any problems that might happen during the day. Things like having to find and collect your own mail before sorting, going to the toilet, badly addressed mail, return to sender mail that has to be marked up and returned, late mail because of weather or broken down wagons and many other problems that happen in a normal working day. This means they can (and do) cut hours, and therefore jobs, from the office indoors and we know nothing about it.

The outdoor element is done with Pegasus Georoute (another computer programme) to plan walks in much the same way as the IWT. A model week is used (again, often a light one) and the programme tracks a walk (going at about 6km an hour), calculating how many drop points you can deliver to in the given time, how many face-to-face meetings you have with the public for oversized packets and how often you sign for letters and packets.

This has three terrain settings that are used to judge garden size and other relevant information that increase or decrease the amount of calls a postie can make. So again settings that allow more calls mean more hours lost from the office.

In our office they ran these tools and came back with a cut of over a 30 jobs for the entire office of over 100. Our rep has had no choice but to work with these tools as ordered by HQ so began a programme of getting information put into them that gave a more realistic level of work. But we still ended up with seven temp workers being given redundancy notices even though we always needed those workers in the past.

At present ALL duties in phase one are going up from an hour and some up to three hours with no inward primary sorting (where we sort mixed mail for the office in to walks or rounds for individual posties). Surprisingly the bullying and harassment that has gone on in many offices with the NDM hasn’t started at ours yet although with the cluster Dom (a manager of a cluster of delivery offices) visiting last Friday it will begin very soon.

People outside of Royal Mail might think I'm being overly negative. There is a place for NDM though: if a Postie has to cycle for say three or four miles in the winter then of course it would be safer and more effective to have a couple of posties working from a van.  The same goes for high density housing where HCTs can be used to get around rather than have to replenish the bags from a Sub-Post Office half a mile away rather than walk around with a 16kg bag on your shoulder.

HCTs have never been used properly by Royal Mail even though we've had them for years. When we've had large loads we've been kept on bikes. Instead of us posties looking at the workload and deciding how would best to deliver to and affectively serve our customers (be it HCT, bike or something else), we've left it to the idiot parasites to control it and screw it up while making a fortune off our backs.

As management step up their redundancies and increase workloads, we have to step up our resistance. The Islington posties' victorious three-hour wildcat showed us all how it can be done. If we want to defend our jobs from redundancies and privatisation then we will need to take more unofficial action: wildcats, go-slows, work-to-rule. In short, we need to make Royal Mail unmanagable!