At no point during the entire Network Transformation project does it
seem to have occurred to Government, POL, NFSP or individual
SPMRs how fragile the entire PO business is.
You would have thought that separation from RM would at least
have stirred the thought somewhere “hang on, do we really NEED
Much of this absence of common sense can be laid at the feet of
local politicians too scared to acknowledge the reality of the need for
fewer branches, and other National politicians too stupid to
recognise that trusting POL to innovate, bring on board new
contracts, develop new products was just flying in the face of the
last 15 years experience of complacency and decline.
Sadly, we find ourselves like blacksmiths at the dawn of the
Even more sadly, the restrictive (illegally restrictive??) nature of our
POL contract means that, whereas blacksmiths could adapt and
turn their hand to fixing cars, we just have to keep making
horseshoes – we can’t take on other couriers, we can’t even use
Paypoint for water and TV licensing.
And as nobody wants horseshoes, the price drops, and will keep on
Adaptation is the key to survival in fast changing circumstances, but
POL thinking is so hidebound, so blinkered, so unable to face the
future that we find ourselves in the position of WW1 soldiers; lions
led by donkeys. I often wonder whether Paula Vennells knows (or even cares) about the
despair that is spreading amongst SPMRs, as they watch the business they
have worked for years to build, being treated like a toy set by people
whose only concern is how much they can individually earn.
BT are by no means a perfect organisation, but they faced similar
threats and challenges head on by creating Openreach, to serve all
telecom companies whilst not fragmenting infrastructure ownership.
If POL had had any vision, they would have attempted something
similar, a PO network that would serve as a central hub for all
couriers, not just RM, and that would allow POs to price parcels
based on the lowest price to the customer, not just the lowest RM
This sort of approach would protect existing operators, retain the
skills that are so obviously lacking in new entrants and allow POL to
bargain with RM and all courier companies for a reasonable rate for
Instead, POL have wasted over £1 billion of public money
destroying the financial basis of the very network they are supposed
to protect, and ruined 11,000+ businesses into the bargain.
As a Convenience Store retailer, I choose what products I sell and at
what price. I sell ecigarette liquids, not snuff!
In the 21st century, how can any organisation like POL be allowed to
treat us like serfs, grateful for whatever crumbs they decide to throw
our way, whilst living high on the hog off our backs..