The crisis created for the Labor Government by the proposed sale and part privatization of the post office- Royal Mail
Introduction: Recently, Royal Mail Group will be sold at least 1/3 of the whole business to private companies or foreign postal companies in the United Kingdom. One of 71 post centres, half of them will be cut down, and 50,000 employees will possible lose their jobs. One hand, this essay will demonstrate the crisis issue from public; on the other hand, how the issues have been handled by the Government and analyze these strategies and tactics.
Main body: Royal Mail Group is one of the large-scale national enterprises in the United Kingdom, employees as many as 150,000 people. It is reported by British media, with the global financial crisis deepening Royal Mail Group of dismal business is facing a bad situation, which will be split sale possiblely, and the United Kingdom Ministry of Commerce and Postal Department are discussing a plan on postal privatization.
Beginning in 1635, Royal Mail's operation has been the oldest postal system in the world. Currently, Royal Mail maintains the monopoly on postal services of the civilian use, but it is squeezed and rarely shares in the field of business by foreign mail delivery companies. In the civilian use areas, the number of mail delivery decline year after year. Both of Royal Mail’s huge pension deficit and the increasing e-mails mean the service will never be profitable in this current form.
Dutch firm TNT, one of the mojor rivals with Royal Mail in the British postal market, TNT is thought to be the front runner to achieve the stake, which might be between 25% and 30%.
Part-privatisation of Royal Mail is opposed by unions and many Labour MPs, who think that it will undermine the universal delivery service and threaten thousands of jobs, and urge the government to rethink this plan.
The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats support part-privatisation as a way of helping to modernise the service in principle. But at the same time, they are worried about Royal Mail's profitability and government support for its pension scheme in the future.
In brief, at present, the government has faced the following issues:
At first, lots of MPs disagree this plan, the BBC news says “about 140 Labor MPs have signed a motion opposing the part-privatization”; One of the rebels, Geraldine Smith, said “Royal Mail's status as one of the UK's ‘most respected’ public organizations must be safeguarded. Part-privatization is not the answer”.
Secondly, some of people worry the pension scheme; the postal worker Sean Tail said “Potentially to get the same pension, I might even have to work past 65”.
Thirdly, Communication Worker Unions put forward to have a big redundancy after part-privatization. Thereby, numbers of workers will lose their jobs.
Faced above problems, the government adapts some strategies and tactics to solve these issues.
The first one is the press release, which is a key communications tool in a crisis situation. It will tell the public their thought via the media (such as a backgrounder or fact sheet). It provides officials explanation of what is happening. They must have an honest answer Respond the media quickly and fairly. News releases should keep the government correct reputation and identity throughout the crisis period.
Add any other available information, such as endorsements and statement from respected professionals who tell the public commercial partnership go in the market and strengthen Royal Mail financially, meanwhile, it will have a fair competition with Royal Mail, and enable it to offer new services. It can help government obtain the support to sell off 30% of Royal Mail.
In the same way, the internet has been used by activists as a highly effective global mechanism for gathering opinion from public, at the same time, publish the government's plan，which selling off 30% of Royal Mail is the only way to safeguard the service. Everybody wants to see a modern Royal Mail.
Keeping Royal Mail in the public sector, but without some private investment would be "continued long-term decline" and even full privatization by a future government. The Labor Party releases “Royal Mail would continue to belong to the English people, its most respected image never changes". The government websites or online news can provide a fast and effective means of communicating directly to government without the risk of “interpretation” by the media.
Aiming a lot of the workers of the Royal Mail would not think of the politics, but about their pension and their job security. So, the next strategy and tactics about government, in the keynote speech, the prime minister said it is necessary that Royal Mail can achieve an investment, which guarantees a £25bn pension fund, spends £1.5bn on the Post Office network, and maintains a universal service obligation.
The received cash will be offset the cost of taking over Royal Mail pension liabilities. Money through part-privatization is ploughed back into post offices and the unemployed will gain the postal job before long, perhaps they will earn more money than before. Sometimes, they should not be sacked if they are all perfect, so they have a competition each other, and a hardworking labor.
Conclusion: Because a crisis catches unprepared people, every organization must have appropriate crisis communication strategies and tactics to firmly guide those organizations that pass the bad and difficult situation.
In this case study, the national English post office- Royal Mail has faced a problem from among the Labor Government, the MPs and the other public. The government must solve this problem correctly and betimes by the suitable strategies and tactics, especially dispose the relationships among them while keeping its good reputation and great image in the public. Like this, it will has a lot of public to support its decision. Reference:
(2009), Sell-off 'to save postal service' . Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7911526.stm [Accessed: March 16, 2009].
(2009), Royal Mail plans to be unveiled . Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7906418.stm [Accessed: March 22, 2009].
(2009), Labour postal rebellion growing . Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7827497.stm [Accessed: March 22, 2009].
(2009), PM: Royal Mail needs private cash . Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7916478.stm [Accessed: March 20, 2009].
Regester, M. & Larkin, J.(2005), Risk Issues and Crisis Management, 3rd ed, CIPR, London.