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Royal Mail shareholders are making 500k a day now, so why can't workers receive some benefits too?

19 Oct 2019, 07:25

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/ro ... 05326.html

Shareholders have been paid over £800m since it was privatised in 2013. At the same time, postal workers have lost their jobs, delivery offices have been closed, and there are planned cuts to pension schemes for employees. This does not feel like a technological revolution which workers can enjoy

We all know the world of work is changing fast. But while rapid technological change may bring improvements to some people’s working lives – with drudgery removed and people freed up for more fulfilling work – many are having a very different experience.

Take the postal workers at Royal Mail. From the summer of 2015, increasing numbers of parcel sorting jobs in the Royal Mail have become automated, following the introduction of a new £20m parcel sorting system. This shift will significantly reduce the amount of time postal workers will take to sort parcels. As a result of this, the time spent on delivery rounds will increase from four to seven hours.

With automation taking hold, postal workers will counterintuitively see their work become more gruelling as newly extended delivery rounds cover the time freed up by parcel sorting. With an average age of 49, the prospect of pushing round heavy loads for seven hours is one that postal workers claim poses a serious risk to their health and safety.

And here’s the kicker. This week it was revealed that Royal Mail shareholders have been paid over £800m since it was privatised in 2013. At the same time, postal workers have lost their jobs, delivery offices have been closed, and there are planned cuts to pension schemes for employees. This does not feel like a technological revolution which workers can enjoy.

It is in this context that workers are fighting back. The CWU – who represent 134,000 postal workers – have been negotiating for four key demands, including a shorter working week. The demand for a reduction in working hours is a direct response to postal workers’ experience at the sharp end of technological change.

I spoke to Kevin, a London postal worker and union branch secretary, who told me: “The world of work is changing really quite fast in our industry, with drones and driverless vehicles. The change is increasing at an ever faster pace. Automation changes the way we work and do our job. This is about improving our terms and conditions based on changes in our working environment.”

By campaigning for a reduction in working hours, the CWU are arguing for the benefits of automation to be more evenly shared between workers and shareholders. This follows a long history of unions facing up to technological change and ensuring workers gain some of the benefits. The eight-hour day and two-day weekend were both in essence demands that workers share in the rewards of productivity improvements.

For postal workers, this is about being more in control of their own time. According to Kevin, “the top priority is work-life balance, about spending time with family and kids.” The standoff bet
Of course, the postal service is not the only place where modern technology is presenting challenges for how workers spend their time. At the New Economics Foundation we are working with drivers, cleaners and others in precarious industries so that they too can start to regain some control over their working life. These are people managed by algorithms and unable to claim basic working rights. By seeking to set up co-operatively owned platforms as alternatives to their often monopolistic employers, they are looking to assert themselves in a working world which increasingly sees their time as a series of digits.

What unites these precarious workers and the Royal Mail postal workers is their determination to confront changes sweeping over the workplace and ensure they reap some of the benefits. As we all face up to the future, we would do well to learn from them.

Aidan Harper is a Researcher at the New Economics Foundation

Royal Mail shareholders are making 500k a day now, so why can't workers receive some benefits too?

19 Oct 2019, 12:41

Top Article , if the Workers cant / wont benefit from our Future Technological Advances such as AI and Automation , there is going to be a lot of people left on the scrapheap . This is going to be the Future Battle for the Unions and the like.

Royal Mail shareholders are making 500k a day now, so why can't workers receive some benefits too?

19 Oct 2019, 18:53

borders wrote:Top Article , if the Workers cant / wont benefit from our Future Technological Advances such as AI and Automation , there is going to be a lot of people left on the scrapheap . This is going to be the Future Battle for the Unions and the like.

It's the future, more automation =less jobs for human beings. It's not rocket science is it. As for 'shareholders profiting' , it's a reward for putting faith i.e your, money with the company. Doing shares is not without risk, why shouldn't you get a dividend for risking your money? A four hour delivery isn't going to turn into a 7 hr one. You don't spend 3 hrs sorting packets a day. Time to face facts, jobs will go, simple. More automation, less people. Should be five to six hr deliveries, van share, one part time, one full time, full timer fully preps both walks, part timers come in and go out delivery only with their full time partner, simple.

Royal Mail shareholders are making 500k a day now, so why can't workers receive some benefits too?

19 Oct 2019, 19:04

Is this what was envisioned on the shores of lake Geneva by a corporate fat cat or is society so screwd yet we this happen and not challenge it with all our vigour and force on our watch!

Royal Mail shareholders are making 500k a day now, so why can't workers receive some benefits too?

19 Oct 2019, 19:30

rambo1 wrote:
borders wrote:Top Article , if the Workers cant / wont benefit from our Future Technological Advances such as AI and Automation , there is going to be a lot of people left on the scrapheap . This is going to be the Future Battle for the Unions and the like.

It's the future, more automation =less jobs for human beings. It's not rocket science is it. As for 'shareholders profiting' , it's a reward for putting faith i.e your, money with the company. Doing shares is not without risk, why shouldn't you get a dividend for risking your money? A four hour delivery isn't going to turn into a 7 hr one. You don't spend 3 hrs sorting packets a day. Time to face facts, jobs will go, simple. More automation, less people. Should be five to six hr deliveries, van share, one part time, one full time, full timer fully preps both walks, part timers come in and go out delivery only with their full time partner, simple.

Well , thank f--k that's the Future sorted out then !! Let's hope it's not your job they scrap then, eh Rambo !!

Royal Mail shareholders are making 500k a day now, so why can't workers receive some benefits too?

19 Oct 2019, 23:13

I have heard of the NEF - they have their heart in the right place and aren't as crazy as some others such as the SWP. Pity these journalists didn't do a bit more research though before printing these articles as it in no way presents a true picture of where we are. For example they talk about our deliveries going from four to seven hours when they are already at six hours. Also regarding the dispute they just go on about the SWW which is yesterday's news. We are not in dispute over a paltry pay rise but a complete reorganisation of the way we do the job and thousands of job cuts. With the media printing this kind of incorrect information it gives impetus for the CWU to reinstate this crap idea then claim some kind of great victory. Meanwhile our jobs go down the toilet.

Royal Mail shareholders are making 500k a day now, so why can't workers receive some benefits too?

20 Oct 2019, 17:52

borders wrote:
rambo1 wrote:
borders wrote:Top Article , if the Workers cant / wont benefit from our Future Technological Advances such as AI and Automation , there is going to be a lot of people left on the scrapheap . This is going to be the Future Battle for the Unions and the like.

It's the future, more automation =less jobs for human beings. It's not rocket science is it. As for 'shareholders profiting' , it's a reward for putting faith i.e your, money with the company. Doing shares is not without risk, why shouldn't you get a dividend for risking your money? A four hour delivery isn't going to turn into a 7 hr one. You don't spend 3 hrs sorting packets a day. Time to face facts, jobs will go, simple. More automation, less people. Should be five to six hr deliveries, van share, one part time, one full time, full timer fully preps both walks, part timers come in and go out delivery only with their full time partner, simple.

Well , thank f--k that's the Future sorted out then !! Let's hope it's not your job they scrap then, eh Rambo !!

I hope not too! But facts are facts. Business models change to remain competitive, with AI , technology and automation, jobs will go. It's inevitable and if the CWU think it's not they're not in the real world. Look at the automotive industry, mining, retail, the list could go on. I agree with you, the world is fxxked, rising, ageing population, less need for human employment , everyone wants to pay less for stuff, whilst at the same time wanting paying more for what they do. It's a recipe for disaster. Sorry if that seems gloomy. Lol.

Royal Mail shareholders are making 500k a day now, so why can't workers receive some benefits too?

21 Oct 2019, 20:36

rambo1 wrote:
borders wrote:
rambo1 wrote:
borders wrote:Top Article , if the Workers cant / wont benefit from our Future Technological Advances such as AI and Automation , there is going to be a lot of people left on the scrapheap . This is going to be the Future Battle for the Unions and the like.

It's the future, more automation =less jobs for human beings. It's not rocket science is it. As for 'shareholders profiting' , it's a reward for putting faith i.e your, money with the company. Doing shares is not without risk, why shouldn't you get a dividend for risking your money? A four hour delivery isn't going to turn into a 7 hr one. You don't spend 3 hrs sorting packets a day. Time to face facts, jobs will go, simple. More automation, less people. Should be five to six hr deliveries, van share, one part time, one full time, full timer fully preps both walks, part timers come in and go out delivery only with their full time partner, simple.

Well , thank f--k that's the Future sorted out then !! Let's hope it's not your job they scrap then, eh Rambo !!

I hope not too! But facts are facts. Business models change to remain competitive, with AI , technology and automation, jobs will go. It's inevitable and if the CWU think it's not they're not in the real world. Look at the automotive industry, mining, retail, the list could go on. I agree with you, the world is fxxked, rising, ageing population, less need for human employment , everyone wants to pay less for stuff, whilst at the same time wanting paying more for what they do. It's a recipe for disaster. Sorry if that seems gloomy. Lol.



The full time member of staff prepping/sorting his frame and his part time partners frame was what was ment to happen. Tell me hows that going in your office? If course technology is changing posties jobs but their are opportunities also. Royal Mail has a great reputation(up to now) and it's because of the local postie who is in your street every day, who knows most of his punters. Your talking as if you've accepted that it's inevitable that RM will/needs to go the way of YODEL/HERMES ect. It bloody well doesn't and it's worth fighting for. But the union need to get it out to the public EXACTLY what the turmoil and walkouts are about. Obviously your not in the union, why would you pay for people, who you say ,are not in the real world. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but you seem to have given up already. Maybe that's why employers are f***ing the workers over because a lot have no balls to stand up to the bullying from above. I'm not saying you dont, you understand. :no no

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