The UK minister for employment has become the latest MP to find out about TNT Post’s plans to expand its end-to-end delivery services over the next five years.
Chris Grayling visited the company’s newest delivery unit, which opened today in the Victoria area of central London.
The new unit provides jobs for 70 staff, as part of 400 jobs created by TNT Post UK since mid-April when trials began for the new end-to-end delivery service.
Around 50% of the new positions have been taken by young people aged 18-24.
TNT Post UK says it plans to create up to 20,000 new jobs by 2017 as it looks to expand the service that challenges Royal Mail’s near-monopoly on Britain’s last mile of mail delivery.
Grayling said during his visit: “I am delighted to be meeting TNT Post’s newest employees on their first day of work. The company is providing much-needed new jobs in London and I look forward to seeing it create many thousands of new jobs across the UK in the next few years.”
The minister visited the TNT Post facility to highlight new UK job figures showing a 133,000 rise in full-time jobs in the UK this quarter, compared to the previous three months. The UK unemployment rate is now 8.1%, compared to 10.3% in Europe as a whole.
Visiting TNT Post, the minister met new delivery staff including Elizabeth Arinola, a criminology graduate from Finsbury Park out of work since March, and Lee Davis, a former gas meter reader who has been a year and a half unemployed. The two staff were recruited by TNT Post via the welfare-to-work programme Ingeus.
Minister Chris Grayling (centre) meets new TNT Post UK staff Elizabeth Arinola and Lee Davis during his tour of the new delivery unit
Part of Dutch postal company PostNL Group, TNT Post UK is one of Royal Mail’s biggest private sector rivals in the UK postal market, active in the market since 2004 and currently handling more than 300m items each month.
As with most of the private sector operators in the UK postal market, much of the company’s volume is collected and processed before being entered into the Royal Mail network for the final mile of delivery.
TNT Post’s new trial in West London is it second, after a trial in Liverpool in 2009, to assess how it could run a full end-to-end service that includes final mile delivery.
So far, the company has said Royal Mail’s exemptions from VAT, as designated universal service provider, have made it impossible to provide a full end-to-end service competing against Royal Mail’s prices.
TNT Post is hoping the government will end Royal Mail’s VAT exemptions to create more of a level playing-field in the market, but Royal Mail has warned that rivals could “cherry pick” key routes, leaving the rest of the country’s postal network suffering financially.
Commenting on the visit of the UK’s employment minister today, TNT Post UK chief executive Nick Wells said that if successful, his company’s plans would see on average 10 new jobs created every single day over the next five years.
Wells said: “It is a great pleasure to have the Minister for State for Employment with us on the day that we begin operations in Victoria, where 70 new employees start work today.
“We have created flexible jobs that allow people to get into or back to work in London and, with backing from the government, look forward to creating 20,000 jobs across the UK.”
Source: Post&Parcel/TNT Post UK