The Royal Mail saga just got its biggest dollop of irony yet

A Royal Mail truck and the Evri logo CWU
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Royal Mail‘s collapse as a functioning company has continued apace in recent weeks. Not least among this has been its financial results showing huge losses. Then, there’s the ongoing dispute with the Communication Workers Union (CWU). However, the latest twist in this saga, involving Evri, is all a bit ironic – given what Royal Mail bosses have been trying to do to the company.

Royal Mail: a sorry state of affairs

As the Canary previously reported, Royal Mail is in a right state. It made a £1bn operating loss in the 52 weeks from March 2022 to 26 March 2023. As we wrote at the time, this level of losses shows:

bosses’ management of the company was a shambles. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following the dispute between the CWU and Royal Mail. The company has lurched from self-induced crisis to self-induced crisis.

From its (now former) CEO Simon Thompson lying to a parliamentary committee, to him and his cronies threatening to declare Royal Mail insolvent if the CWU didn’t bow down to their demands, the past 12 months at the company have been a farce.

Moreover, the dispute between the CWU and its members, and Royal Mail, has underscored all of this. It’s been ongoing for nearly a year. During this time the company has repeatedly made insulting offers to its workers. At one point, Royal Mail wanted to introduce what the CWU called “Uber-style owner drivers”. This led the union’s general secretary Dave Ward to comment:

Posties are in the fight of their lives against the Uberisation of Royal Mail and the destruction of their conditions.

Now, in a bizarre twist of irony it seems bosses can’t even compete with gig economy companies – because Amazon just signed a deal with Evri to do some of Royal Mail’s work for it.

Read on...

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The CWU was right (again)

As the Telegraph reported, Amazon has given Evri (which used to be called Hermes) a contract. It’s for “seller fulfilled Prime” deliveries. The Telegraph noted this is where:

businesses offer Prime services such as next day delivery, but store stock themselves rather than Amazon doing it.

Royal Mail, as well as DPD, are currently running this service for Amazon. However, Evri performed so well in a trial that the company decided to give it a contract, too. Amazon claims that this is to give shoppers more options. However, the news comes amid a backdrop of the regulator investigating Royal Mail for not delivering letters on time. So, it’s likely Amazon’s not confident about the company’s ability to do its job.

Moreover, it’s not the first time Royal Mail has lost out to Evri. In 2022, the Post Office scrapped its deal with it, and signed one with Evri instead. Plus, all this comes as shareholders get restless, with a major one calling on Royal Mail to “adapt” or face the consequences.

Not even competing with notorious Evri

It’s preposterous that Royal Mail, in its bid to refocus its business to parcel delivery like gig economy companies, cannot even compete with them. Moreover, it’s damning that a once-hallowed public service is so grossly mismanaged that it can be out-smarted by Evri – a company known for its appalling working conditions.

Of course, in this chaos it is the workers that lose out. Currently, the CWU has paused a ballot for its members on the offer Royal Mail gave them in the ongoing dispute. According to the CWU, this is because bosses haven’t improved working conditions at the company.

But maybe this is all part of Royal Mail’s master “Uberisation” plan: trash the company and the brand, fail to deliver anything on time, and treat your workers like shit. That is, after all, Evri’s work ethos – and maybe Royal Mail is following suit. Given the carnage of the past twelve months, anything is possible.

Featured image via Lionel Allorge – Wikimedia, resized to 770×403 under licence CC BY-SA 3.0, and Evri – YouTube

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