Tues 22 December 2009
As the private sector, and right wing politicians continue to demand more competition in the delivery of public services, one consumer of postal delivery services - a service that has been exposed to competition - has found that 'choice' has meant an extra cost of nearly £11 per parcel this Christmas.
Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser, said "In fact as the allegedly empowered consumer, neither I nor anyone else, has any 'choice' in this service at all, as the sender decides who to use - but the extra cost, hassle and time are all placed on us. This is why UNISON is running our 'Public Works' campaign to defend and advance public services and those who deliver them."
This is an actual history of a consumer of mail delivery services.
At Christmas time, like many consumers, Dave Watson receives a number of small parcels. Goods ordered for himself and others, presents received etc. Dave works during the day and no one is at home to receive deliveries that don't fit through the post box. So he has to collect them.
Before competition the Royal Mail delivered all these items. If needed, Dave would visit his local sorting office to pick up undelivered packages. Since competition, this Christmas he has had to make 3 trips to his local sorting office PLUS 3 trips to one parcel company, 2 further trips to another parcel company and one to a third.
All of these sorting offices are further from his house than the local Royal Mail sorting office which is a 2.4 mile round trip and takes 18 minutes. Company 'A' is 6.3 miles from Dave's house and back, and takes 38 minutes. Company 'B' is 22 miles return and takes 63 minutes, and Company 'C' needs an 8.4 mile trip and takes 47 minutes. So if you work out the extra cost in time and fuel*, the additional cost of 'competition' in delivery services to this consumer was £65.51 or a staggering £10.92p per parcel. Not forgetting the 0.02 tons of extra carbon emissions!
Neither does this extra cost include any extra costs added into Postage and Packaging charges levied by private delivery firms.
Dave said "This shows how efficient and cost-effective public services are NOT delivered by spurious notions of choice, but by comprehensive and locally delivered, publicly-run services. Royal Mail has had its critics recently, but these inefficient and costly private alternatives should warn us of the dangers of further privatisation."
Note for editors:
*The sum below sets out the additional costs in terms of cash, time and environmental impact.
Company 'A' - 6.3miles x 3 = 18.9 38mins x 3 = 1hr 48mins
Company 'B' - 22miles x 2 = 44 63mins x 2 = 2hr 06mins
Company 'C' - 8.4miles x 1 = 8.4 47mins x 1 = 47mins 71.3 miles 4hr 47 mins
Less cost of collection from Royal Mail - 2.4miles x 6 = 14.4miles 18mins x 6 = 1hr 48mins
Total extra 56.9miles 2hr 59mins Car cost: 56.9 miles at 40p mile (HM Revenue & Customs rate) = £22.76.
Time cost: 3hrs @ £14.25 (avge workers wage) = £42.75.
(This travel in this car also cost an extra 0.02 tons of carbon emissions).