Postman Pat-ernalism needs reform

News broke this morning in the Daily Mirror that Royal Mail had agreed to alter its pension’s policy; forcing workers to put in five years more graft in order to claim their pension.

Despite this being taken from a ‘company document’ seen by the Mirror, Royal Mail this afternoon denied they were altering its pensions policy and insisted the document was out of date.  They maintain no decision has yet been made on pensions policy, leaving the door open for lengthening the time needed to work to claim a Royal Mail pension.

So what’s new?  Each of our publicly-funded behemoths has suffered a pension’s crisis.  No one kicked up a fuss when Gordon Brown raided private pensions back in Labour’s first term, leaving hundreds of thousands without any pension they had directly put into – after paying already high levels of taxation.  When a public funded body faces a pension’s shortfall caused by incompetence and public sector hubris, however, all hell breaks loose.

The simple truth is that a competitive, dynamic market in postal services would benefit the workers in the industry.  A profit making postal service wouldn’t find itself with pension’s deficits.  Unions wouldn’t be able to hold the monopoly to ransom because, firstly, there’s other, stronger competition out there and that it wouldn’t be in their interest to lose out to rival brands.

Perhaps if there does turn out to be an alteration in Royal Mail pension’s policy it will be in the long term interests of Britain’s workforce.  What is clear is that the status quo of this and other unreformed monopolies with generous pension arrangements is costly and untenable.

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