Postal Services Bill

Part of Planning (Developer Bonds) – in the House of Commons at 5:21 pm on 27th October 2010.

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Photo of Tom Blenkinsop Tom Blenkinsop Labour, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland 5:21 pm, 27th October 2010

Exactly.

In Germany, only 18% of the jobs created by Deutsche Post's competitors are full time. Deutsche Post cut average pay by 30%, but things are even worse in the new competitors, where delivery workers in western Germany earn 40% less than their Deutsche Post colleagues and delivery workers in eastern Germany earn 50% less than their Deutsche Post colleagues. The disparity is starker still in Holland, where the total payroll cost for a postal worker employed by the main operator is €23 an hour compared with just €7.60 an hour for someone who works for its competitors, which pay by the piece.

The Bill provides no real protection for service users, irrespective of definitions of a universal service obligation. Clause 50(1) states:

"A consumer protection condition may require postal operators to be members of an approved redress scheme."

That is useless. Any future privatised service must be a member of such a scheme in order to give the consumer redress. The word "may" allows an opt-out and no consumer redress.

Clause 50(5) states:

"A consumer protection condition may require postal operators...to provide information to OFCOM."

Again, the word is "may". There is no requirement that the provisions are checked.

In conclusion, we are not looking at something new today. Other countries have gone down this road, and the result is a bad one for the staff, the business, other businesses and the general public. Put simply, if people live in a rural or far-flung area, are poor or are unable to pay for a promised premium service, they will suffer. What use to a postal worker is a market share in their own demise? What use to the general public and business, as service users, is a purely profit-driven postal business with no consumer redress, rather than a postal service that serves the public?