Royal Mail buys digital businesses to spur growth

The Financial Times reports that Royal Mail is acquiring or investing in small ecommerce and technology startups:

royalmailThe FTSE 100 group has made several acquisitions since the start of last year, from a mobile fashion app to a start-up selling software for online retailers in China.

While the deals are modest in size, they illustrate how Royal Mail, which was privatised in 2013, is sowing seeds in new areas that it hopes will provide future revenue growth.

“They’re buying innovative software and expertise,” says Robin Byde, analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.

“It all speaks to the issue of declining core mail but is also a response to growing ecommerce flows. They’re positioning themselves in the plumbing space for the global supply chain.”

Source: Royal Mail buys digital businesses to spur growth –

Royal Mail escapes price caps after Ofcom says service working well

Royal Mail will escape new price controls after the communications and regulator declared the universal postal system was working in its current form.

4000The company has been the subject of an Ofcom investigation following concerns that it no longer had competition in the delivery of letters when rival Whistl withdrew from the market.

Publishing the initial findings of its review, launched in July last year, the regulator said it would not impose new price caps on Royal Mail.

“Given the declining letters market, and increased competition in parcels, Ofcomis not proposing to impose new price controls on Royal Mail’s wholesale or retail products.”

It added: “The universal postal service is financially sustainable, while current rules and safeguards for people and businesses who use post are generally working well.”

Source: Royal Mail escapes price caps after Ofcom says service working well | Business | The Guardian

Royal Mail warns market remains ‘challenging’ as profits fall 33%

Royal Mail has reported a 33% fall in annual profits and warned that market conditions remain “challenging” despite rising parcel volumes.

It said pre-tax profits for the year to the end of March were £267m compared with £400m a year earlier.

89736069_89736068Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene said: “We have delivered a resilient performance in challenging markets.”

UK revenue fell 1% to £7.6bn from £7.7bn a year earlier as letter volumes and revenue fell by 3% and 2%.

UK parcel volumes grew 3%, but revenue was only 1% higher.

Read more: Royal Mail warns market remains ‘challenging’ – BBC News

UK Union says ‘No’ to Post Office destruction

From the Communication Workers Union:

Post Office reps and branch secretaries from across the UK will be meeting in central London next Monday to decide their response to management’s latest attack on members’ jobs.

Over 500 people working in Post Office Supply Chain – delivering cash and valuables to post offices and other businesses, as well as those processing cash – are threatened with the axe, after this morning’s shock announcement by the company’s chief executive Paula Vennells.

post-office-heart-banner-imageThe cutbacks amount to some 50 per cent of the entire supply chain workforce, explained CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey, who notes that, taken together with the controversial Crown Office franchising programme, “over 1,000 jobs are being slashed by the Post Office, which is quite astonishing.

“The Supply Chain job cuts have come as a direct result of the Post Office announcing they’re voluntarily pulling out of external CViT work – which is an almost unbelievably bad business decision.”

Separated from Royal Mail by the 2011 Postal Services Act, the Post Office here in the UK is the only one in the world which has been separated from the national mail delivery service and the CWU maintains that this decision has greatly damaged the network’s viability.

CWU acting DGSP Ray Ellis said: “There’s no doubt that separation has hit both the Crown office counters and the cash in transit operations hard, but Post Office management have also completely failed to develop either of these functions as successful businesses.”

Next Monday’s meeting will consider all options in order to hammer out a strategy to defend members’ jobs and to put forward a positive future strategy for the business.

General secretary Dave Ward said: “With this latest round of job losses, the management of the Post Office has to face the facts that it is in crisis and heading for ruin. If they care about the future of the network they should resign in protest at the straight-jacket government cuts have left them in.

“The Post Office was split from Royal Mail in 2012 in the run-up to privatisation and we are yet to see a plan that will secure its future. With a cut in its funding from £210m in 2013, to zero in 2019, these job losses show that under Sajid Javid’s leadership the Post Office is heading the same way as the steel industry.”

Brian Scott, the Unite union’s national officer for Post Office managerial grades, said that the company’s proposals would “tear the heart out of the Post Office.”

The 79 redundancies of Unite members announced today would “take the total number of proposed job losses to 130 in the last two weeks,” he added.

· For more information, click hereSource: Union says ‘No’ to Post Office destruction

Royal Mail may ban deliveries over ‘mail snatching’ cat

From the BBC:

A couple have been told to restrain their cat or face having their mail deliveries suspended.

Matthew Sampson was notified by Royal Mail last week of a “potential hazard” at his home in Patchway near Bristol which was “affecting deliveries”.

According to Royal Mail, Bella the cat is a “threat” to staff and has been putting “fingers at risk of injury”.

But owner Matthew Sampson, said he was “shocked” by the notice as he has “never seen her get aggressive”.

In the letter, Royal Mail states it has been “experiencing difficulties in delivering mail” to Mr Sampson’s address “because of the actions of a cat”.

It said the couple’s postman had reported that when he pushes mail through their letterbox their cat “snatches the mail and put his fingers at risk of injury”.

Source: Royal Mail may ban deliveries over ‘mail snatching’ cat – BBC News

Hunt to find men who stabbed worker in leg during ‘traumatic’ Clayhall Post Office robbery

A £10,000 reward is being offered to find two men who stabbed a staff member in the leg during a robbery at the Post Office in Fullwell Avenue, Clayhall.

Two men entered the store and jumped over the counter, where they stole a large amount of cash.

One staff member received a small stab wound in the leg, and two others were assaulted in the robbery, which happened on March 1.

Now a reward of up to £10,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the people involved.

Both men are described as black and between 18 and 25 years old.

Read more: Hunt to find men who stabbed worker in leg during ‘traumatic’ Clayhall Post Office robbery – News – Ilford Recorder

ATM thieves used gas canisters to blow up post office in Bristol

This is the shocking scene of devastation left after a village post office was completely obliterated when thieves armed with gas canisters targeted it this morning.

Locals living close to the post office in Shirehampton, Bristol, were woken by a huge bang at around 2.15am today.

The incident was the latest in a series of 20-plus raids on ATMs in the same area in the last year.

Read more: ATM thieves used gas canisters to blow up post office in Bristol

Mail strike in second week in Waterloo, Crosby

From the Liverpool Echo:

THE Royal Mail said it is doing all it can to deliver post in Waterloo and Crosby as a strike by workers continued into a second week.

People living in the L22, L23 and L29 postal codes have suffered from late or non-existent deliveries since Tuesday after a walk-out by staff.

It appears the strike, by members of the Communication Workers Union, has not been officially balloted, making the industrial action illegal.

Mail collections are continuing.

UK: Labour Party leader says Royal Mail should be brought back into public ownership

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has argued for the Royal Mail to be brought back into public ownership and warned that the Post Office is under increasing threat.

He won loud applause from delegates at the annual conference of the Communication Workers Union with a passionate defence of keeping post offices open and defending the universal postal service.

“The best thing would be for Royal Mail and the Post Office to be brought back together in public ownership, not the system of ownership we have at present.”

Mr Corbyn said the Post Office seemed to be under increasing threat, as more branches were franchised, hitting rural communities and access to services for older people as well as terms and conditions of workers.

Postal workers were the “lifeblood” of communities, regarded as a friend, he said, adding: Ïf we lose it and it breaks up and have fewer High Street post offices, we have lost something that pioneers fought for.

Source: Royal Mail should be brought back into public ownership, Jeremy Corbyn says –

Starship Technologies introduces delivery robots in UK

Starship Technologies, a company launched by the former co-founders of Skype, is announcing today that the UK will be the first major country to host trials of its revolutionary self-driving delivery robots, starting in Greenwich, London.

Throughout the next six months, the robots will be visiting towns and cities in all four nations of the UK, culminating with launch of pilot delivery services later this year.

concept-fullbleed1The six wheeled intelligent robot will make its debut in Greenwich after talks with the local authority led to a partnership with the firm, which means that Greenwich will be the first location in the UK to experience the revolutionary delivery system. First launched in November 2015, the robot is designed for local delivery of goods and groceries for consumers for under £1 per shipment. The robots use pavements like pedestrians, travelling at slow speeds and with zero emissions. The public introduction program aims to demonstrate how easily the friendly curbside robots can integrate into human life.

The UK has been chosen for this work because of the Government’s clear commitment to autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, making the country a world leader in this new and ground-breaking technology.

“Our robots are a totally new class of devices that will provide a combination of low cost and convenience with less congested streets and zero emissions,” said Ahti Heinla, CEO, Starship Technologies. “The robot has been in development for almost two years, and we’ve experienced unprecedented levels of interest and goodwill – so it’s great to now be taking the first step to rolling our little robot out for real. The robot has been very well-received by pedestrians in all of the interactions we’ve seen so far, so it’s very exciting to be officially introducing the robot to the British public.”

“I am delighted that The Royal Borough of Greenwich has been chosen as the first location in the UK to trial this revolutionary delivery system, and that Starship Technologies has chosen to base their UK offices in Greenwich” said Denise Hyland, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. “This technology has the potential to transform the local delivery of goods and groceries. The trial complements the work being undertaken by the Royal Borough of Greenwich on smart city innovation – work that we believe will be significant for all cities in the future.”

Starship Technologies is planning to launch similar testing programmes in the United States in April and plans to unveil the first pilot services in cooperation with its service partners in the UK later this year.