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Monday, 25 March, 2002, 16:05 GMT
Few tears for Consignia brand
post box
The Royal Mail remains a powerful brand name
Consignia is to undergo a three-year review which is expected to see up to 40,000 jobs lost, 3,000 Post Offices closed and a return to its original Royal Mail name.

BBC News Online gauged the reaction of the public and postal workers to the announcement.

It was perhaps indicative of the problems Consignia has that the first reaction of many people questioned about its current predicament was to ask what the company did.

The Post Office's name change is one of the few things being shed by Consignia that most of the public and its employees seemed pleased about.

"Consignia? Is that one of the new electricity companies?" Speaking as someone just leaving the Post Office in Shepherd's Bush, Margaret Lymm had perhaps a surprising lack of knowledge of who she had just done business with.

What does Consignia mean? I know its supposed to be clever, but it doesn't mean anything.

Bhanu Ramaswami

"I didn't know that the Post Office wasn't called the Post Office," she said. "Everyone I know calls it the Post Office."

Bhanu Ramaswami, who was at the post office to pick up a vehicle licence form, said she would be glad to see the back of the Consignia name, but was concerned about possible branch closures.

Concern over closures

"I don't know why they changed the name in the first place. What does Consignia mean? I know its supposed to be clever, but it doesn't mean anything."

Frances Gowan was also worried about branch closures.

The mother-of-two said: "I hope it doesn't mean they will just decide to close all the small post offices.

"I don't live near my bank and I use the post office a lot for banking. If they close the little post offices down when they've already closed down so many banks then people aren't going to be able to go anywhere unless they've got a car."

The public's concerns were shared by postal workers. One west London postal driver, who asked not to be named, said: "So far its not affected me, but no-one really knows what's coming next.

"Everyone seems to blame the unions for the mess we are in, but we were doing alright until we started messing around with Parcelforce.

'Ridiculous' name change

"I wouldn't like to say what I really think of the senior management, but I'm glad they are not organising our Christmas do in a brewery, that's all I'll say."

His colleague, who also asked to remain anonymous, said he hoped the job cuts would be handled sensitively.

He said: "From what I understand, the redundancy packages being offered are pretty good. My job is OK at the moment, but if the offer came to take redundancy I would have to think about it."

But he was less conciliatory about the change of name back from Consignia.

"Ridiculous. It cost them an arm and a leg to change in the first place and it will cost another arm and a leg to change back.

"If I'd just been told my job was going and that X-number of pounds was being spent on changing all the letterheads, I don't think I'd be very happy - would you?"

See also:

25 Mar 02 | Business
Consignia cuts 15,000 jobs
25 Mar 02 | Business
Drastic surgery at Consignia
25 Mar 02 | Business
Consignia review in detail
25 Mar 02 | Business
Q&A: The Post Office crisis
25 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Minister to defend mail plans
06 Mar 02 | Business
Big rise in stamp prices threatened
25 Mar 02 | UK
R.I.P. Consignia
15 Feb 02 | Business
Consignia rejects name change call
04 Mar 02 | Business
Post chiefs turn down pay rise
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