The short end of modernization in Fallowfield

13 Nov

The whole point of a post-office is to establish a central point which people can make contact with the mail service to retrieve or deposit their mail. However, that principle has been overlooked in Fallowfield. The Manchester Evening News earlier last week reported that half of the Royal Mail staff in Fallowfield will be moved to another office in Old Trafford. The piece, “13 mile bus rides to collect post” reveals that 15,000 residents of the M14 area (Fallowfield, Ladybarn, Moss Side, and Rusholme) may have to make a round-trip of 13 miles to get their lost or redirected mail.

 

This tentative piece of “modernization” that has been the subject of strikes and debates for the last month is expected to disrupt and severely inconvenience communities in Greater Manchester’s districts. Royal Mail’s staff re-allocation according to MP John Leech, as quoted in the M.E.N. is “ridiculous and completely unacceptable”.

 

In the aftermath of the end of the postal strikes, the Royal Mail service according to one resident has been lacklustre. In an on-the-street interview with Darren, a 28 year old resident of Rusholme, he said that the service has been “pretty poor, slacking, or rather, lacking” and when I asked him about the M.E.N. story he said that, “if there are cutbacks then it won’t run as well”.

 

In the tentative agreement between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union, under the third section on “Restoring Normal Services”, the second paragraph reads:

 

“Against the backdrop, traffic has been diverted during the dispute will be returned to its parent office….Where there is a requirement for local additional resource this will be done in line with normal local overtime allocation arrangements.’ ‘In Mail Centres, if an office is not capable of processing the work in hand normal diversion/ contingency arrangements will apply” (CWU, 5/11/09).

 

In sum, the planned relocation of staff to the Old Trafford office is taking place as a “contingency arrangement”, perhaps. In the M.E.N. article the Royal Mail Service has cited their commitment to consult local residents and compensate for under-reporting in performance surveys, and the CWU union members and workers will also be a part of this upcoming dialogue.

 

Amongst the pledges to work with the union and the customers, the Royal Mail management has committed to consultation. People like Darren in this “period of calm” can be apart of a greater change in public services; and the public must be vocal, if their public services are to be maintained.

 

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