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Sue Edgar’s Postmaster Ponderings: We have to get this business back on track

May 16, 2024 |

This article is the individual ponderings of a postmaster and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NFSP but is the sort of communication we receive or hear that in turn is reflected in our future policies/actions.

I recently read a book that I never imagined would appeal but after a friend recommended, I decided to give it a go.

The prophet, by Khalil Gibran. A classic I was told from a Lebanese American.

I found within it so many things that, although written in 1923, can relate to much of our world today. I would certainly recommend it.

He speaks of love, joy, fear, giving and receiving in ways I have never thought of.

My take on it is that firstly, don’t be afraid of being happy but share that happiness with others. Help to look after those that have nothing but do so because you want to and not to show how bountiful you are.

If something is not right, then let’s get it sorted. It doesn’t matter who you are, we are all capable of helping those that we deem to be below us in the chain of life. Why, what makes us so special that we are more worthy of a smile, a heartfelt kind word or a nice gesture from a stranger in the street. Who are we to judge? We are losing our world; our way of life and we need to reclaim it.

We may be scared to take on those that try to hold us back, frightened in case we say or do something wrong. Why? No one is stronger than you, no one is better than you. You make all the decisions in life that affect you, as others do even with no thought of consequence.

As such, we all must not dwell on what happened yesterday because that is already a memory. What about today, tomorrow. We need to look to the future although not forgetting the past, but unless we get the future sorted, yesterday will be all we have.

We are like the river winding its way down from the hills, dealing with so many twists and turns, bumps and fords and as it gets nearer it can smell the salty air of the sea. It gets scared, what will happen to me, will I be lost, but you cannot go back, that is impossible. We have to be like the river and carry on, what happens is that you become part of the sea. You have found your home, and it has found you.

This is why although we might tremble and be scared, we might shake at the thought, but we too have to be strong. We cannot hide. We must take on all those who have done us wrong. We must challenge those that want to burden us with their worries, their errors and misjudgments. 

Why are we allowing these people to rule our every action?  Why are we allowing them to dictate our payments, to rule and grind us into the ground as irrelevant?

No longer can we allow this to continue, they are cannibalising our network, ours, not theirs. They have turned postmaster against postmaster looking for the business to keep us going.

We have to set out to salvage this business and get it back on track:

  • To be a sustainable business that people once again are proud to say I am a postmaster.
  • That potential buyers are not afraid to come along and buy, knowing it to be a business worthy of their hard-earned money.
  • Postmasters not mumbling when asked what you do for the fear of questioning on the scandal that is Post Office Ltd and Horizon.
  • Opening of Drop & Collects at will. Network locations that were closed years ago because they were unviable but still classed as temporarily closed are reopening. Why?

They do this so that more will give up and they can then roll out a cheaper “pretend" version of a post office.

The fact that so many branches are losing money and being propped up by a postmaster's retail side has to end. No longer can this continue.

We need to be at the helm of this organisation, we must be at the very centre of decision-making. Postmaster NEDS have had no real say on any matters relating to postmasters. They are informed of decisions once taken. NO, THAT IS NOT RIGHT. As self-employed businesspeople we should know ahead of time what we propose to make profit from the next year. We don’t buy from our suppliers without knowing the cost, we certainly wouldn’t sell products that make a loss.

So, no more are we going to take a smaller piece of the pie to support PO and their fancy offices with their fancy salaries, teams and titles of which are too numerous to mention. I often wonder who is working in all of these teams, reporting back to one person who then reports to another and so it goes on.

Yet we, the people, who actually earn all of this can’t even earn the minimum wage. Cutting staff hours, turning the heating off and lowering the temperature. Rents, all utility costs, reaching unsustainable levels.

This has to be taken into account. I do not believe that PO should make a profit. It holds a special, social place in the communities it serves, we should be recognised for that.

We, postmasters, along with people who have lived in the real world need to run this business. Government involvement is essential.

I do not claim to have all the answers, but I do know that I have a lot of questions.

So, I am asking all members, get involved in any way possible. Don’t just stand on the sidelines waiting for others to sort.

Sue Edgar

Guisborough Post Office Postmaster

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