Attempted Impact Assessment of National Living Wage on Sub POs

I own and run a Convenience Store and Local+ somewhere in the Midlands.

I have talked before about the fantasy of PO workload figures and their impact on my staffing costs.

For 15 years I worked in what was then called Work Study, so I decided it was time to apply my skills to POL work.

With the NLW a mere 6 months away, I felt I needed to get a grip NOW on what that’s going to do to my business.

How? I have analysed my last few payslips to establish how many transactions I am doing, and what those transactions are. I have then timed the most numerous transactions, in some cased doing them myself, then timing my staff doing the same transaction and averaging the two.

Those things paid for by value I have used my local knowledge of what the average transaction value is to arrive at a quantity.

To all of this, I have then added times for REMMING in, loading cash into cartridges for Bidi safe use, end of day/month procedures etc etc. There will be plenty of things I have missed; giving out forms, passport queries (which we can’t handle) and the other social elements like explaining official letters to customers who cannot read or write.

I have made 2 major assumptions which I believe are reasonable

1    The current label trial will be extended to all parcels without any increase in pay

2    POL will neither increase or decrease any other transaction rates

When I have fully finalised the work, I intend to forward it to CABPost for their information.

The bottom line is, at £7.20 an hour, POL will only be paying me for 93% of the work I actually do on their behalf.

As the NLW increases, that % of paid for activity drops; at £8, it is 85%, £8.50, 81%, and at £9, 77%.

So by April, every SPMR in the country (on the Local style contracts) will be subsidising POL, RM , the Government (DVLA, MOJ etc) and the banks for the honour of having a Post Office. And that subsidy will get larger and larger with each year that passes.

It is striking (though not at all unexpected) that neither POL nor the supposed NFSP have published any work at all on NLW impact – I suspect that means my own analysis is over generous. And if they think my analysis is wrong, then I look forward to POL publishing their own, but if it is as close to reality as the workload figures they used to “persuade” us to convert to LOCAL+, I will take a lot of convincing.

There will be 2 arguments advanced to try and justify any shortfall:

The first is the “POL activity is happening in free time”

The second is the footfall driver argument

In my own case, POL activity, based on my analysis, taked 27 hours a week, so effectively 1 FTE, so the free time argument doesn’t wash, particularly as I am paying other staff for over 30 hours.

The footfall argument is less clearcut, but many of my POL customers only come in for low value transactions like  electricity, and many others are shoppers first, POL customers occasionally, so I would reverse the argument and say that 65% of my shop customers use POL because of me.

Another shop owner recently demolished the similarly spurious Paypoint footfall driver argument by analysing his transactions from PP customers.


3 thoughts on “Attempted Impact Assessment of National Living Wage on Sub POs

  1. Good evening Fim (?)

    As a current SPM of a Main PO & an ex-member of the IWSP, I’m curious as to what rating you gave yourself as opposed to your staff when recording time(s) taken for HOL activity – or did you carry out analysis using a PMTS system, eg MTM first, second, third or fourth generation?
    Am curious as I have carried out small scale analysis on specific Horizon tasks when challenging remuneration rates.
    Amble PO


  2. Hi

    I’ve been doing the job for 12 years, my staff for less than 12 months, so where transactions have been recorded for both of us (rarer ones I tend to have to do because they lack full knowledge) I have averaged the timings between us on the simple basis that, as a two person operation, I dont have the luxury of devoting too much time to doing what is fundamentally an academic exercise as nothing is likely to sway POLs rates of pay.

    And of course, my timings and costs are based on Locals rather than Mains transaction rates.

    Yes, still got my 1982 vintage MTM practitioners certificate from Harry Mitchell College in Beeston – ironically, we used to do trial studies at the Post Office as they historically had such a strong WS/MTM presence and our student results of observations could then be compared to the official ones

    Iain (the Fim was a joke that stuck)


    • What a small world – did my MTM 1 in 1971 in Peterbotough with MTM3,3 & fourth generation in the subsequent decade.

      I do appreciate your comment on influencing POL rates but my own analysis led ( eventually ) to speaking to Chris Hiward, based in London. Chris is head of a dept charged with establishing & application of pay rates for each transaction.
      He’s a good guy who appreciated my views based on data I presented.

      In the overall scheme of things ( Pareto based ) I’ve always focused on the high monetary yeilding tasks.
      Appreciate Mains contract is a different animal to Local but here in Amble we’re doing well applying the PO CRM model introduced back in April.

      By the way, Amble is in the final three for Great British High St award – Google it & would appreciate your vote for us – up against much larger towns of Bognor Regis & Prestatyn

      Hope your week goes well


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