TNT Post UK expands end-to-end delivery service to Liverpool
Royal Mail’s only major rival in the field of last mile mail delivery, TNT Post UK, has launched services in the city of Liverpool. The company that started out its challenge to the UK’s virtual mail delivery monopoly back in April 2012 has hired 500 postal delivery staff and today began deliveries to homes and businesses in the “L” postcode area.
The expansion follows TNT Post’s move into the city of Manchester last November, which was its first foray into mail delivery outside London.
Last month TNT Post UK revealed plans to double its delivery workforce in the UK capital to 2,000 postmen and women. Along with the Liverpool expansion, the company now has 3,000 people employed in postal delivery in the UK.
TNT Post, part of Dutch postal company PostNL, said today that Liverpool was next for its end-to-end mail delivery service because the city had a “welcoming” approach to attracting inward investment, and has supported recruitment efforts.
TNT Post will be using young people and the long-term unemployed within its new team in Liverpool, using bicycles to complete their deliveries and scanning each letter as it is delivered to the door.
The company states that its delivery jobs on the alternate-day three-day-a-week service are particularly appealing to women returning to work, second jobbers, those balancing childcare commitments and school or college leavers.
Nick Wells, the TNT Post UK chief executive, applauded public sector bodies including Liverpool City Council, Job Centre Plus and Aventa for helping target the new jobs at people “who may have found it hard to get back into the work place”.
“Our commitment to our new employees does not stop when they begin work. We will help develop their careers through our dedicated training and development programmes. This will not only benefit our new employees and the communities in which they live, but also the wider business community as our Posties progress their career with us or look for new opportunities within other businesses in the area,” said Wells.
The UK’s postal market was fully opened to competition back in 2006, but since then most of Royal Mail’s competitors have provided only mail collection and sorting services, before handing fully-sorted mail to Royal Mail for the last stage of the delivery process.
TNT Post UK began trials providing the full “end-to-end” mail delivery service in West London in April 2012, and has since expanded its London coverage to parts of Central London, South West London and North West London.
With financial backing from private equity firm LDC, the company aims to roll out its services across the UK to create 20,000 jobs. However, its strategy of focussing on key urban areas have left critics including Royal Mail claiming it is “cherry picking” only the most profitable delivery routes, which could have a detrimental impact on the financial viability of Royal Mail’s provision of the universal postal service in all the other, more difficult routes.
Yesterday Royal Mail announced that it is cutting 1,600 jobs, mainly non-frontline managerial roles.
The Communication Workers Union, which represents 115,000 non-managerial staff at rivals Royal Mail, expressed concern today at hearing of TNT Post’s latest expansion plans.
The union which has long criticised TNT Post’s pay and conditions for delivery work, renewed its demands for the UK postal regulator Ofcom to apply universal service obligations to TNT Post’s service to bring it in line with Royal Mail’s obligations and give the two companies a level playing field. The regulator does have the power to require TNT Post to follow similar standards to Royal Mail – such as delivering six days per week or to all UK addresses – or pay into a fund to safeguard the universal service, but since TNT Post has come on the scene it has only been monitoring the situation.
Dave Ward, the CWU deputy general secretary, said the arrival of the TNT Post service in Liverpool was “deeply concerning”.
Ward claimed that TNT Post’s service had drawn complaints from customers in Manchester regarding “mis-delivery, late mail and poor practice”.
“Ofcom should introduce a statutory universal service obligation across the postal industry to protect the service that residents rely on. Customers value the six-day-a-week service offered by Royal Mail, and this should be standard across the board,” said Ward.
“Unfortunately it seems that TNT puts profit over people. There is no obligation for the company to meet the broader needs of customers, so what we were are seeing in other parts of the country is cost cutting at the expense of the jobs, pay and conditions of postal workers by employing staff on zero hours contracts and paying less than the living wage.”
A spokesperson for TNT Post UK told Post&Parcel today denied the union’s claims that it has received complaints regarding the service in Manchester.
“We do not recognise the comments made by the CWU. In the four and a half months of operating in Manchester we have received minimal enquiries regarding the mail delivered in the area,” he said.