Royal Mail delivery van

Royal Mail Argues Postal Tracking Is a Necessity for Business & Avoids Strike Action

Royal Mail has urged the UK regulator Ofcom (The office of communications) to rethink its latest decision that tracking for post and packages would not be allowed under the Universal Service Obligations (USO) rule.

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The Universal Service Obligations rule outlines the minimum standards that everyone in the UK should be entitled to as far as a postal service. Nowhere in the USO does it have any stipulation surrounding the tracking of packages, but just service levels regarding on-time deliverability.

Royal Mail had lobbied for tracking of postal products to be added to the USO but Ofcom initially rejected the request.

“We are very disappointed that Ofcom has not taken the opportunity to allow Royal Mail to offer tracking on the products we offer the general public under the Universal Service. Tracking is no longer seen as an optional extra or a premium offer, it is a necessity. The very purpose of the Universal Service is to offer postal services not provided by the market at a uniform affordable price throughout the UK – and tracking for all, at an affordable and common price for everyone, should be a feature of a modern postal Universal Service in 2022.”

Royal Mail Statement

Royal Mail Would Have Unfair Advantage According to Ofcom

The main reason for the denial from Ofcom is that if they added tracking to the USO it would give Royal Mail too much of an advantage over their competition.

“As the universal service is VAT exempt, extending it to include tracking would provide Royal Mail with a financial advantage, harming competition.”

“Royal Mail is free to offer tracked parcel services outside of the universal service requirements and outside of the VAT exemption, and in fact already provides such services.”

Ofcom Statement

This decision comes at a particularly trying time for the UK postal operator as it has already come under scrutiny from Ofcom for missing delivery targets in recent periods. Of course, Covid has had a major part to play in the recent disruption with service levels rumored to be getting back to normal levels.

The organization has also been battling the threat of strike action from major mail union Unite, which just today announced it had called off its planned strike from Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd of July.

Whilst Royal Mail has asked Ofcom to rethink its decision it seems unlikely that the regulator will be willing to change its stance at this time.

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