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Sunday, 5 May, 2002, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Consignia to ditch new name
Mailman picking up post from a letter-box
Another makeover could be on the way
Consignia could soon return to its old name of the Post Office.

Or if not the Post Office, the Royal Mail.

The state-owned postal operator rebranded itself as Consignia over the last couple of years to gear up for the loss of its monopoly of UK postal delivery services.

But the new name has failed to catch on and Consignia chairman Allan Leighton has confirmed it is to go - "probably in less than two years."

In with the old?

"There's not really a commercial reason to do it, but there's a credibility reason to do it," he told BBC TV's Breakfast with Frost programme.

As to the likely replacement, he said the firm has several strong brands from its past which are held in affection by the public.

The rebranding was "unfortunate" because it had coincided with a period of underperfomance by the firm - which lost 1.5m a day during one-three month period last year.

Mr Leighton declined to comment on press speculation that the government is seeking a replacment for Consignia's chief executive, John Roberts.

Shake-up

The Financial Times newspaper reported last week that the government wanted to give the job to someone with an "entrepreneurial" background.

Loss-making Consignia is mid-way through a radical restructuring programme aimed at shedding up to 30,000 jobs and closing a third of the urban post office network.

Mr Leighton agreed that 30,000 job losses - a figure set out by Mr Roberts - was "indicative" and a "realistic" target.

Mr Leighton said he had told a recent meeting of 150 "top managers" that one third of them could expect to lose their jobs.

Billy Hayes of the Communication Workers Union told Breakfast with Frost the union was willing to accept voluntary redundancies and called for more investment in the postal service.

"We're up for change, (but) that change has got to be negotiated," he said.

Strike averted

More than 70% of the UK population would support an increase in the cost of stamps to protect the postal service, he said.

Consignia has been hit hard in recent years by competition in some segments of the postal services market, and by declining mail volumes linked to the rise of electronic communication.

The company has also been dogged by labour disputes.

On Thursday, a national postal workers' strike planned for 8 May was narrowly averted when Consignia reached a preliminary agreement over pay with the Communication Workers' Union (CWU).

Under the deal, which still requires the backing of CWU members, Consignia staff would be given a 2.2% pay rise backdated to October last year, and a further 2.3% from October 2002.

Under the government's plans to liberalise postal services, the company's monopoly would be dismantled in three phases by 2006.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Allan Leighton, Consignia boss and Billy Hayes, CWU
Discuss the issues
See also:

25 Mar 02 | Business
Consignia cuts 15,000 jobs
25 Mar 02 | Business
Drastic surgery at Consignia
24 Apr 02 | Business
Postal workers warn of strike
16 Apr 02 | Business
Consignia 'fighting for survival'
12 Apr 02 | Business
Consignia calls for penny on stamps
10 Apr 02 | Business
Urban post offices face the axe
05 Mar 02 | Business
Post watchdog weighs up options
12 Dec 01 | Business
Q&A: The Post Office Crisis
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