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Why not junk the junk?

22 Oct 09 | Re: Selective industrial action

Today is the first day of national postal strikes. The trouble from the striking workers’ point of view (apart from loss of wages for striking and the horrendous conditions and pig-headed management that drove them to strike in the first place) is that the public is inconvenienced, and will tend to see the strikers as the primary cause of that inconvenience, regardless of where the blame might actually lie. BBC Have Your Say, the UK’s premier reactionary shouting-shop, is already full of comments about lazy posties, greedy workers (for forfeiting pay on a point of principle? Really?) and blah blah blah. They are surely wrong, but unfortunately this is a democracy and even HYS-posters’ opinions are somehow allowed to count.

Without knowing much about how the postal service operates, I would like to make a humble suggestion. Instead of full strikes, could postal workers not refuse to sort or deliver only junk mail? This would hit the bosses, who increasingly rely for their revenue on shovelling junk mail into landfill sites via the letterboxes of the long-suffering public. But from the point of view of most people, it wouldn’t damage the service a jot - in fact, it would vastly improve it.

It’s pretty easy to spot junk mail from the envelope, probably easier if letters are your business, and a lot of it probably comes to the depots in huge truckloads that only contain junk and could simply be left in the corner until a deal was struck, at which time it could be pointlessly delivered as usual. Registered charities could be exempted. What’s more, the PR victory might even be compounded by the sight of managers and strike-breakers slogging through delivery rounds with sacks containing only junk mail, allowing even the most tabloid-thinking members of the public to identify them as obvious bogeymen.

No doubt there is a good reason why this course of action has not been pursued, but I do not know what it is, and I should be interested to be told.

Posted by ART VANDERLAY at 18:01

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