Posts tagged ‘deregulation’


21 December 2009

Who regulates the regulators?

Roy Mayall

I’m interested in the way that words change their meaning once they are adopted by bureaucratic institutions. Take deregulation, for instance, as it’s applied to postal services in Britain. It appears to mean an opening of the market to allow competition. But if you look more closely you will see that, in order to achieve this, the Royal Mail’s ability to act in its own interest has been severely curtailed. Deregulation is the means by which rivals companies can gain access to the Royal Mail network in order to make a profit. It is also sometimes called ‘liberalisation’ and is the result of a number of convoluted EU directives. On the ground the system takes the form of something called ‘downstream access’. Rival companies bid for large city-to-city and bulk mail contracts from private utilities, banks and other corporations, and then, having secured them, use the Royal Mail to deliver. Using the Royal Mail to undermine itself, in fact. What it means for us posties is that we’re being made to deliver our rivals' mail for them, and then told we can't have decent pay and conditions because our rivals are taking our trade away. In an unregulated market the solution would be simple.