CWU RESPONSE TO OFCOM STATEMENT ON UNIVERSAL SERVICE OBLIGATION (Full Statement)

CWU RESPONSE TO OFCOM STATEMENT ON UNIVERSAL SERVICE OBLIGATION

Responding to today’s press release from OFCOM


CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said ‘At a time when postal services have never been more essential and we should be investing in our national infrastructure, we should be looking for ways to protect and enhance a six day universal postal service, not for reasons to cut it back.”

“While letter volumes have continued to decline, there is huge demand for affordable high quality parcel services that cover every part of the country and during the pandemic Royal Mail has handled over 90% of all Covid-19 testing kits. A 6 day universal service remains essential to the UK and we should be looking at building new products and services into it to support its long-term sustainability rather than managing its decline.”

“It is ironic that this news from the regulator has come the day before Black Friday, one of the busiest posting days of the year, when no other person in the country is thinking about how to cut their postal services. It is essential that the government and MPs protect the country’s infrastructure and do not move to scrap the universal service at the worst possible time.”

“Ofcom’s research shows that 40% of people would feel cut-off from society without a daily postal service and that 61% of people think it’s important to maintain a 6-day service. The role of the regulator and the government should be to ensure this continues and the CWU will be fighting to defend a vital public service.”

CWU Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger said “Once again Ofcom has produced a predictable conventional wisdom, but dated report, many countries have knee jerked towards reducing their USO and weakened the social inclusion and connectivity of their nations citizens. If this report was up to date it would reflect how the current pandemic has totally proven the worth of the 6-day USO which does not only deliver letters.”

“Ofcom make reference to the current USO being letters six days and parcel five days, and yet despite making a huge case for the need to be more efficient in delivering parcels, does not recommend moving USO parcels to six days. A move which would totally benefit the nation offering affordable guaranteed one price goes everywhere universal service six days a week, and if you are going there with parcels why would you not still deliver any available letters, surely that is efficient. The CWU would support that change, the CWU supports greater investment in parcel automation which would drive the efficiency they desire, the CWU support opening the delivery of commercial parcel offerings across the whole day from 7.00am to 19.00hrs and also seven days a week.’

“The Universal Postal Service Obligation is one of our greatest social inventions and has massively proved its worth again during this pandemic some 500 hundred years or more since it was first introduced. Whilst Ofcom enjoy loading the gun it would be unforgiveable for the Government to fire it, run that consultation again Ofcom and see the results you get from the public and businesses now having witnessed its true worth during 2020.”

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