Britain’s major postal union – The Communication Workers Union (CWU) – has threatened to block mail from Royal Mail’s private sector competitors from reaching UK households.

The CWU, which represents 200,000 members in the communications industry (not just Royal Mail workers) launched its campaign at the Future of UK Postal Services Conference on 4 December and handed out leaflets to delegates as they arrived.

In the leaflet CWU criticises Ofcom (the regulator) for allowing TNT Post to run its trial end-to-end delivery services without having the need to meet the same quality standards that Royal Mail faces as universal service provider.

• The CWU also called upon the Government to stop its privatisation plans and engage with stakeholders to develop a new ethical and inclusive Royal Mail business model

• Any boycott would affect about 44% of all letters in the UK postal system… as well as around 75% of all bulk mail. This would equate to around 7.2bn of the 16.4bn letters delivered each year in the UK

The boycott will be put in place if there is “no progress” from Ofcom on the issue of competition, said the CWU.

Ofcom has previously stated that it was keeping a close eye on the development of end-to-end competition in the UK market.

If it believes that services like TNT Post’s do pose a threat to the universal service in the UK, it does have the legal powers to impose service quality requirements like six-day-per-week standard… or require Royal Mail competitors to pay into a central fund to support the universal service.

Ofcom is currently consulting on its draft guidance for handling end-to-end competition, which closed on 9 January 2013.

This important issue looks set to run for a while, we shall keep you informed. In the meantime Royal Mail has written to its Downstream Access customers assuring that they are “fully committed to the delivery of mail entrusted to them under Access contracts with Royal Mail”.

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