Ofcom accuses Royal Mail of breach of competition law

Communications regulator Ofcom has accused Royal Mail of breaching competition law after it proposed raising prices for its bulk mail delivery customers.

Bulk mail is collected by other postal firms from businesses and passed to Royal Mail for sorting and delivery.Royal Mail set out the price changes in January 2014, before withdrawing them.

Rival firm Whistl, which had planned its own delivery network, claimed the price hikes were anti-competitive.

Ofcom said its specific allegations include that “changes to Royal Mail’s wholesale prices for bulk mail delivery services contained a differential in pricing which meant that, in practice, higher access prices would be charged to… customers that competed with Royal Mail in delivery than to those access customers that did not”.

At the time that the price increase was proposed, TNT Post – now Whistl – was proposing to launch a rival bulk letter sorting and delivery service for business customers.

Following the price hike, it complained to the regulator about anti-competitive practice on the part of Royal Mail and ultimately gave up on its rival venture.

Source: Ofcom accuses Royal Mail of breach of competition law – BBC News

Canada Post stamp celebrates Alice Munro, Nobel Prize-winning writer

OTTAWA – Alice Munro, the recognized master of the exquisitely honed short story and the first Canadian woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, is celebrated on a new stamp that pays homage to elements of her work.

The stamp incorporates a photograph of Munro that was taken by her daughter Sheila, a sample of the author’s handwriting from archival material, and vintage images of Wingham, Ont., the small town in which Munro was born. Many believe that Wingham inspired her fictional town of Jubilee, in which many of her stories are set. The stamp was designed by Marcio Morgado and Paul Haslip of Toronto’s HM&E Design.

“Alice Munro is not only one of Canada’s most critically acclaimed writers but also one of the most popular,” says the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and responsible for Canada Post. “Her stories have garnered recognition worldwide and this tribute adds to her lifetime of honours.”

“Our stamp program recognizes the achievements of Canadians,” says Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post. “As fans of this prolific author know, Ms. Munro’s literary talent, wisdom and humanity, reflected in her stories over several decades, have earned her recognition that few writers in any language or country attain.”

Alice Munro’s early works found their way into Canadian literary journals and CBC Radio’s Anthology. Her first collection, Dance of the Happy Shades, was published in 1968. In the mid-1970s, her short stories began appearing regularly in The New Yorker, bringing her a broader, international audience. She has been awarded three Governor-General’s awards in 1968, 1978 and 1986, Giller prizes in 1998 and 2004, and the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in 2009.

When she was presented with her Nobel Prize in 2013, a representative of the Nobel Committee for Literature said, “Reading one of her texts is like watching a cat walk across a laid dinner table. … Alice Munro is often able to say more in 30 pages than an ordinary novelist is capable of in 300.”

The stamp’s release date of July 10 marks Munro’s birthday.

About the stamp

The pressure-sensitive stamp – printed by Colour Innovations Inc. on Tullis Russell paper using lithography in five colours – is available in booklets of 10 and measures 26 mm x 32 mm (vertical), with simulated perforations. The Official First Day Cover will be cancelled in Wingham, Ont. To purchase philatelic products, please visit canadapost.ca/shop.

Source: Stamp celebrates Alice Munro, Nobel Prize-winning writer | Canada Post

Canada Post to increase rates in January

From Canada Post:

Canada-Post-OTTAWA, July 9, 2015 /CNW/ – Canada Post is proposing to increase postage rates in 2016 as declining mail volumes continue to have a significant impact on its financial situation.

Canada Post proposes to increase the postage rate for Domestic LettermailTM items weighing 30 grams or less when purchased in a booklet, coil or pane to $0.90 from the current rate of $0.85. The price of a single stamp would remain$1.00. The rate change would take effect on January 11, 2016 and replace rates that will have been in effect for 21 months.

Lettermail volumes have been declining for almost a decade. In 2014, Canada Post delivered 1.4 billion fewer pieces of Domestic Lettermail than in the peak year of 2006. Some of the biggest declines have occurred in 2015, accelerating the erosion of Canada Post’s core business. As mail volumes fall, the number of addresses served also rises every year, affecting Canada Post’s cost of doing business.

The Corporation is taking every action necessary to secure postal service for all Canadians and to avoid becoming a drain on taxpayers. It is proposing these new postage rates to help achieve its long-standing mandate of remaining financially self-sufficient.

Canada Post estimates the average Canadian household purchases fewer than two stamps a month, while the typical small business purchases fewer than 250 stamps per year.

Canadians can avoid the cost increase by purchasing PermanentTM stamps at the current rate of $0.85 in advance of the proposed rate changes coming into effect. Permanent or “P” stamps always retain their value and are valid postage regardless of when they were purchased.

Canada Post is also proposing to increase rates for other domestic Lettermail, U.S. and international Letter-post items and Domestic Registered MailTM.

The rate changes are one of several actions the Corporation is taking to achieve financial self-sufficiency. In December 2013, Canada Post announced its Five-point Action Plan to transform its business and preserve postal service for all Canadians. As part of the Plan, Canada Post introduced a new tiered pricing structure for Domestic Lettermail that provided discounts to customers who purchase stamps in booklets, coils or panes.

The current proposals will be published July 11, 2015 in the Canada Gazette Part I.

Hoodoo Snafu: Canada to scrap and replace $1.20 Dinosaur Park in UNESCO Heritage Site issue

In a July 3 story that broke the very day they were issued, one of five new stamps celebrating UNESCO World Heritage Sites was found to have the wrong image. Canada Post will answer critics by withdrawing and shredding the stamps, and issuing a new stamp with an accurate image.

Canada Post to shred stamps with wrong image.

Posted by Linn's Stamp News & Scott Catalogue on Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Source: Hoodoo Snafu: Canada to scrap and replace $1.20 Dinosaur Park in UNESCO Heritage Site issue

Why India Post could become e-commerce’s most potent delivery partner

Sharadamani Amma, an 87-year-old great grandmother, remembers a time when the sight of mail runners would cause a great deal of excitement in the small Kerala village she grew up in. The appearance of these postal employees, who carried mail between post offices on foot, meant a letter or money order or, god forbid, a telegram—a sure sign of ill news.

But those days are long gone. The postmen are no longer held in high regard in most of the country, and few in the current generation would have even stepped into a post office, at least in urban India.

New age e-commerce companies want to change this. The likes of Amazon and Snapdeal already have pilot projects running with India Post, while newspaper reports suggest that Flipkart is set to follow suit.

But what makes India Post, seen by many as a relic of a bygone era, so attractive to these online portals? Read more: Why India Post could become e-commerce’s most potent delivery partner

The scale of India’s Postal Network

Deutsche Post union launches strike: no end date set 

Members of service workers’ union Verdi at Deutsche Post made good on threats to walk off the job on Monday, announcing an indeterminate strike that will hit deliveries across Germany.

“We have to increase the pressure massively,” Verdi deputy leader Andrea Kocsis told journalists in Berlin.

Verdi says that the Post has not made any concessions towards solving the conflict through six rounds of talks over pay and working hours for 140,000 employees.

At the heart of the argument is the company’s plan to create regional subsidiaries where former postmen will be employed at the lower wages typical of logistics companies.

Source: Postal union launches strike: no end date set – The Local

Private shareholders to be locked out of UK Government’s £1.5 billion Royal Mail sale

Banks and City pension funds are to get preferential treatment in the £1.5billion sale of Royal Mail, leaving private investors empty-handed, The Telegraph can disclose.

The sale of the Government’s remaining 30 per cent stake in Royal Mail was unveiled in the House of Commons by George Osborne, as part of a bid to raise £4.5billion by March next year.

Whitehall sources said the Government was likely to offer the shares at a small discount to the market price large City institutions to keep the costs of the flotation down.

The banks and City investors will then be able to sell on the shares to small private investors at a profit.

Source: Private shareholders to be locked out of Government’s £1.5billion Royal Mail sale – Telegraph

UK Government to sell off the rest of Royal Mail

From the BBC:

The government’s remaining 30% stake in the Royal Mail is to be sold off to help pay down the deficit, George Osborne has said.

The chancellor said the shares – currently valued at £1.5bn – would be sold when ministers could be sure they would get value for money.

The government holds a 30% stake in the Royal Mail, with the remaining 70% held by a combination of employees and private investors.

Mr Osborne told MPs: “I am today announcing that the Government will begin selling the remaining 30% shareholding we have in the Royal Mail.

“It is the right thing to do for the Royal Mail, the businesses and families who depend on it – and crucially for the taxpayer.

Source: Royal Mail stake to be sold off, George Osborne announces – BBC News

Union says Canada Post has suspended plan to end door delivery in Hamilton

Update: CBC News reports that a Canada Post spokesman has denied that the corporation has changed its plans, and that delivery conversions will continue as scheduled

OTTAWA- Canada Post’s plan to end door-to-door delivery on Hamilton Mountain has apparently been put on “indefinite hold,” according to the union representing postal workers. While this decision has yet to be confirmed in writing by Canada Post Corporation, postal workers were cautiously optimistic.

“At this point, we can only speculate, but we think the actions of Hamilton residents have had an impact,” said Terry Langley, President of the Hamilton local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

Hamilton postal workers were informed yesterday by Canada Post managers that no new date for the end of door-to-door delivery would be scheduled at this time.

Since Canada Post’s cuts were announced in 2013, almost 600 municipalities and municipal organizations, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Big City Mayors Caucus, have raised concerns about the elimination of door-to-door delivery. Hamilton city staff estimated that mailbox conversion would cost the city at least $2 million in administrative costs alone.

Many Hamilton residents have fiercely opposed the removal of their home delivery. One retiree, Henry Evans-Tenbrinke, occupied his mailbox installation site for days, making international headlines.

“We can and should insist that our profitable post office consult with us before cutting services,” said Mike Palecek, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The union says that postal cuts will remain a federal election issue for the Conservative government.