BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Junk-mail tip postman faces sack
Roger Annies
Roger Annies advised people how to reduce their junk mail

A postman who advised people how to stop junk mail being delivered to their home could lose his job after bosses suspended him for misconduct.

Roger Annies composed and circulated a leaflet about the Royal Mail's opt-out clause for unsolicited mail during his rounds in Barry, south Wales.

Residents are said to be annoyed at their postman's suspension.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman confirmed that a postman employed in Barry was being investigated for "alleged misconduct".

Mr Annies' leaflet read: "As you will have certainly already noticed, your postman is not only delivering your mail; he/she also has to deliver some (anonymous) advertising material called door-to-door items.

"For the near future, Royal Mail plans to increase your advertising mail. This will mean a lot more unwanted post in your letterbox.

Unaddressed mail - Opt-Outs, Royal Mail, Kingsmead House, Oxpens Road, Oxford, OX1 1RX
Addressed mail - Mail Preference Service (MPS), Freepost 29, LON 20771, London, W1E 0ZT or call 0845 703 4599
Source: Postwatch

"If you complete the slip below and send it to the Royal Mail delivery office, you should not get any of the above-mentioned unwanted advertising."

People who were receiving Mr Annies' leaflets say they are in favour of his actions.

Anthony Vaughan, 64, of Churchfields, Barry, said: "I'm fed up with junk mail. For every letter you receive, you have to put another 14 in the dustbin.

"God knows what businesses think about the amount of junk mail delivered to them.

"I thought it was a good idea and I was going to complete the form that he had delivered.

"Roger was just letting us know what Royal Mail should have told us in the first place. I don't agree with the suspension at all. It's ridiculous."

'Environmental damage'

Father-of-two Mr Annies would not comment about his suspension while it is still under investigation.

Councillor Robert Curtis, who represents the Gibbonsdown ward on the east side of Barry, said: "The service mentioned by the postman is something that I was going to feature in my next newsletter so he has beat me to it.

"Millions of pounds are wasted on leaflets and the environmental damage that does is massive and it is just not needed.

"If we could stop junk mail at the origin we would certainly save councils a lot of money and prevent a lot of environmental damage.

"I suspect the postman should have got permission from his management but I support what he was doing as a principle."

If we could stop junk mail at the origin we would certainly save councils a lot of money and prevent a lot of environmental damage
Councillor Robert Curtis

A spokesman for the Royal Mail confirmed that a postman has been given a "precautionary suspension" pending further investigations.

He said Royal Mail delivered less than a quarter of the UK's unaddressed mail - officially known as "Door to Door items" - and that "if we do not deliver this mail then rival companies will."

He added: "Royal Mail's future depends on competing effectively in all parts of the market and that includes unaddressed mail, a service which is used by a great many firms and people, whose businesses depend on it."

Profitable service

A Royal Mail spokesman also told the BBC that its code of conduct processes were "long established".

He said: "Royal Mail has a long association with the unions and we work our way through these processes very carefully.

"We make money through direct mail by senders paying for their addressed mail to be delivered, or through having a contract with senders who post unaddressed mail, such as local government information or local takeaways."

Bob Gibson, of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said: "The CWU recognises the strategic importance of Door to Door in what is a financially lucrative and expanding market.

"We are already in negotiations with Royal Mail to conclude an agreement that will enable the number of weekly Door to Door contracts to be increased, whilst at the same time ensuring that all operational and health and safety requirements are in place and our members receive improved remuneration and longer term job protection."

Your comments:

Roger Annies has done a great public service. I was unaware of the financial incentive for Royal Mail to deliver unwanted mail through my letter box, nor how to stop it. I do now, and will be able to act accordingly.
Tim Jones, Cornwall

According to Royal Mail, us mere consumers account for only 10% of the market. But business to consumer is 60%. Doesn't take a genius to figure out they will focus and pander to the junk senders. However if Royal Mail sacks him, Mr Annies should fight for unfair dismissal - it's public domain information after all.
Flynn, London, UK

99% of people are going to support this postie, junk mail is a pain and is largely unwelcome. I'm glad he did it, as this news story has effectively told me how to opt out of receiving some of this junk. Personally I would like to see the Royal Mail be allowed to increase the price of a 1st class stamp by 10p to increase their profitability, as I think even at 40p a pop the 1st class letter service would be an absolute bargain, and perhaps then they wouldn't need to distibute colossal amounts of (what ends up as) waste paper.
Dave, Yeovil, Somerset

What really disturbs me about this story is not the Royal Mails bully boy tactics with the postman concerned (hardly unexpected) but the Unions attitude - quite happy to collaborate in RMs mission to bombard us with more junk mail so long as their members get a satisfactory back-hander. Mr Annies should be applauded for actually putting his customers first, a rare talent these days.
Mike Honeyman, Northwich, England

I'd be very happy if someone had informed me of ways to end the endless torrent of junk mail that comes through my door. For him to be suspended is almost like saying the Royal Mail could challenge me if I told all my friends how to ban the junk. Does the Queen get bothered by all this "Royal" Mail rubbish?
Jason Lucas, Doncaster, England

I registered with the Mail Preference Service to cut out all the junk mail I was receiving. That worked for a while but doesn't seem to have any effect on what the leaflets the Royal Mail deliver. Mine goes straight in the re-cycle bin - unread.
David Marshall, Huddersfield, UK

What does this mean for the charges to remove rubbish? Not only do we have to receive this postal garbage, but then we'll also have to pay to dispose of it! Someone tell me how to get out of receiving this?! I'll pass on the info to everyone I meet! Thanks to this conciencious postman for this very useful info.
Simon Fleming, Durham, Co. Durham.

It is so demoralising to open the door when you get home from work and find the doormat covered in junk mail which has to go straight in the bin. It makes me feel annoyed and powerless. I wholeheartedly support Roger Annies.
Malcolm Webster, scotland

"I think we get far too much junk mail"

How to junk junk mail
06 Oct 05 |  Working Lunch

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific