Martin Kirby Column; The Last Post, Cash Flow and the Bish Bash
CLOSURE WAS ALWAYS IN THE BAG
Back in March, I said that I had little faith in Royal Mail's assertion that any possibility of closing Gloucester's main sorting office was "a six-month process and all options will be considered, nothing has been decided"…etc. Far be it from me to say I told you so, but we now know that Royal Mail is to sell the Eastern Avenue centre.
I realise the management have said there will be no compulsory redundancies but if you live in Gloucester and are offered a job in Swindon or Bristol, the increased cost of getting there amounts to a pay cut – not to mention the impact on family life in terms of travelling time.
Gloucester's MP, Richard Graham, sees no alternative but that's hardly surprising because the Government is desperate to sell-off Royal Mail to a private postal company at the earliest opportunity, so it has to be slimmed-down to be attractive.
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For me, the statement by Michael Kennedy, Royal Mail's South West process and collections director, says it all; "Change is absolutely essential to meet customers' expectations of a world class postal service, ensure we operate efficiently and provide a great quality of service in a smaller and radically changing market." Or in other words, only a lean, mean, cost-cutting Royal Mail will be of interest to a foreign investor.
I believe we still have a great postal service and any shortcomings are due to the aforementioned cuts rather than staff inefficiency. Put it this way, at the moment, for 60 pence you can post a letter in John 'O Groats and it will be taken to Land's End. If anybody knows of anything that gives better value for money, I'd like to hear about it.
THAT'S A BIT RICH
I don't pretend to know the ins and outs of the 'Nepotismgate' scandal at Gloucester City Council but it seems that allegations have been flying around to the effect that some council employees may have given temporary or casual jobs to family members.
At the time of writing, two managers have departed and one is on suspension. I should stress that suspension does not mean he is guilty of doing anything wrong and an investigation continues.
But what did interest me was that, in normal circumstances, the chap in question is on a salary of £85,000. Given that 85 grand is more than half of what the Prime Minister is said to be paid, and considerably more than an MP's salary, you have to wonder how many more people in local government are reaping the benefit of such a large wage packet. It's no surprise that the city council is strapped for cash, is it?
Gloucestershire Constabulary is claiming a refund of £64,000 from the government, to cover the cost of organising security around the badger culls which have now been postponed by MPs. Best of luck with that!
It's obvious that Mr Cameron has changed tack after seeing how much opposition there was to the cull from animal rights groups and that well-known badger lookalike, Brian May. Don't be surprised if the cull is allowed to wither and die, unlike the badgers, which are now free to roam.
NOT MUCH EQUALITY IN CHURCH
Whether or not women are allowed to be Bishops is of little interest to me. But I can't help wondering whether the ladies who are affected are missing out somewhere.
Despite the fact that the 'big boss' is God, Bishops are employed by an earthly organisation, namely the church. They have a job description and a not inconsiderable salary. As far as I'm aware, according to The Equality Act of 2010; "It is unlawful to discriminate in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation". Just a thought, girls.