Thursday, 29 October 2009

Postman Pavel

Let's hope this postal strike ends soon. It's quite disruptive. My post has been arriving quite early; so I am robbed of the happy anticipation of it arriving around suppertime. What's more, all of it is for me, so I've lost the enjoyable banter with my neighbours as I try to figure out who's got my mail.

I assume our replacement postie is temporary, because he's polite, cheerful, efficient, and Polish. I expect the usual incumbent, Darren, is champing at the bit to get back to work. He doesn't have time to be polite or cheerful; the permanent scowl and avoidance of eye-contact is because he's concentrating. However he makes up for this with a lovely pre-Christmas card ('from your postie, Darren'). I'm sure this has nothing to do with angling for a tip, so we don't give him one.

Darren is riding the crest of a wave of union enthusiasm. Life had got a bit dull what with everyone off to the office every day, so the gusto with which the CWU is failing to turn up for work is a breath of fresh air. They're not alone. Yesterday I received a Unison letter passed on from a public sector buddy. (I feel his identity is safe; there are 1.3 million of the buggers. Can you hear me at the back comrades?)

The letter was a response to a request for workers to take their full holiday entitlement. This would avoid a big budget deficit due to people carrying forward holiday. Unison helpfully suggested that if its members were being asked to take holiday, then they should share in the profits. In other words, pay me a bonus for taking my holiday. Which I'm contractually obliged to do anyway.

Ho hum. Welcome to the 70s.


  1. Where do the piccies come from? If it's 1st class male she's after .....

  2. "...permanent scowl and avoidance of eye contact." this man should have been a bus driver.

  3. I'd write it into their contract that they can't carry over any accrued but untaken holiday and then make it incredibly difficult for them to take it. That would show the buggers. You see - this is what happens when you offer someone £400 a year to agree to work more flexibly and then have the cheek to ask them to do just that!

  4. As a former shop steward for Unison (no, really) I can assure Ubergrumpy that such attitudes were alive and kicking in the Eighties as well. Has he never heard of custom and practice - this is an entirely reasonable letter which will lead to a few members of another union being culled to pay for the budget overrun. That's the job of a shop steward... isn't it?

    BTW you wouldn't believe some of my union stories... or maybe you would. Difference then was we were in a boom.

  5. Bit unfair. Darren could just be really enthusiastic about Christmas. It's a good time to be a postman, I'm sure.