Sunday, 18 October 2009
These are the carrier pigeons of Shepherd’s Bush, waiting for private hire to deliver post. Many of them make half a dozen deliveries daily within the London area; rates for deliveries beyond the M25 are negotiable. They’ve been busy these past few weeks, and next week they’ll be even busier.
Either my local postman is the mild-mannered, friendly, hardworking man I know him to be or he’s the lazy, stick-in-the-mud, recalcitrant, hard-line union activist that the Royal Mail and most newspapers are telling me he is. For an insight into the conditions he’s working under, read this piece, written by a postman, from the LRB of last month. It rings true to me, and probably to anyone who has worked in a large organisation. People don’t go on strike, thereby risking their own jobs, without a good reason, and there are plenty here: poor management, low morale, dodgy statistics, private companies piggybacking on Royal Mail labour and creaming off profits, office chiefs ‘who aren’t all that bright’ . . .
In today’s Observer there’s another good piece, by Victoria Coren. There used to be, in some places still is, a custom of slipping your postie a thankyou present at Christmas; this year I’ll be baking early and taking cake to the picket lines.