I have never been a big fan of unions. They began as a good idea, but it seems that the union organisations have gone out of control. I find that employees are sometimes caught between union bosses and employers. They are the ones who suffer in the long run.
Now, the Royal Mail strike is affecting everyone. While blue collar workers who strike aim to cause disruption for their companies, the effects for the wider community is not immediately felt. However, postal workers who strike cause havoc for everyone. (Even worse than when the tube workers were striking earlier in the year – people made other arrangements for travel.)
I recall just a few weeks ago when my work contract took forever to reach me. My job and our financial state were in terrible danger. I remember thinking that perhaps if one of those workers were waiting for a critical document, they might reconsider the strike.
Today, we almost missed the deadline to register our daughter for secondary school. Granted, we should have taken care of this ASAP, but we only received the paperwork last month and we really haven’t had the time to investigate schools. People used to this system would know what to do, but we are very new to all of this. So, when we sat down to do the application, we found that we had to have it in by noon today. Secondly, it was not the time of posting, but the time of reception. Thirdly, the mail strike meant that delivery on time was not guaranteed. Some school districts extended the deadline, but others refused. We managed to drive around the neighbourhood and found some internet access – just enough to get online and submit the application right as the clock struck noon. Of course, we wonder if it will really matter in the long run, because we might move and will have to apply for special consideration at a different school later on. It’s so much easier to apply for schools in the States.
Royal Mail have tried to counteract the impact of the strike by hiring 30,000 temporary workers to catch up, as well as to ramp up for the upcoming Christmas season. Of course, the unions are not happy about this because it may, in effect, the negate the effects of the strike. But, I have to agree with RM in saying that the strike is extremely irresponsible. Why should we, the common people, have to suffer because of their disputes? Did they expect that the public would rally behind the union and demand that RM give in so that we can resume our daily lives? RM is already in financial trouble so the government wants to sell part of it off. What concessions can they possibly make during this recession? That’s what I cannot understand.
What I fear is that this strike may force many companies to start using the internet for all communications. UPS and FedEx will take over the delivery of parcels and all the other postal services will be handed over to other departments. Some might think this image of the future is for the best – the “greenest option”, but I personally still enjoy getting handwritten postal messages. And I fear problems arising with the use of email for all communication, especially legal issues.