Whistl suspends E2E services following withdrawn financial support

Richard Stuart-Turner
Monday, May 11, 2015

Thousands of staff are understood to be affected after postal delivery service Whistl suspended deliveries following a funding shortfall.

Whistl, the UK’s second biggest postal services provider, had been looking for a strategic partner to help planned expansion of its end-to-end (E2E) service but its expected funder, private equity investor LDC, a division of Lloyds Banking Group, has pulled out.

In a statement, Whistl said it had now launched "an extensive review of the viability and potential for the rollout of an E2E postal delivery service in the UK" following the decision. Whistl employs 4,500 staff with around 2,000 working in its E2E delivery operation. 

“To stem the losses from the operations, we have taken the difficult decision to suspend the current E2E service during the review process.

“As part of this extensive review, we will begin consultations with the relevant employees who are affected by the suspension of the E2E service, and with their union representatives, with a view to identifying and exploring viable proposals to secure the continuation of this service.”

A spokesperson for the company told PrintWeek: “It means that mail Whistl would have put through their own post now reverts back to downstream access.”

Staff consultations started this morning (11 May). Community, the recognised trade union at Whistl, said its members are "extremely worried for their futures".

Community national officer Les Bayliss said: “Community has a meeting of our senior reps tomorrow where we will begin to develop our response to the company’s consultation.

“We will be doing all we can to identify a viable way forward for the business that safeguards our members’ jobs.

“We should be clear that this is a suspension of the business, not a termination of it, so we will be looking for the company to work with us to identify sustainable options to continue operations as soon as practically possible.

“Meetings will be taking place through the week with our local reps in the end-to-end areas of the business as we seek to listen to members’ concerns and begin to identify alternatives.

“We understand the consultation was triggered by the decision of LDC not to fund a further rollout of the end-to-end business but we’re also aware of the challenges faced by the business because of the continuing costs dictated by Royal Mail, which affect the sector as a whole.”

Shares in Royal Mail rose 3.3% after the news was announced.

CFH Docmail managing director Dave Broadway said: "It’s a shame that we won’t now see a genuine large scale competitor for Royal Mail as all businesses need competition to bring out their best."

Whistl’s announcement leaves CFH's E2E delivery service Velopost, which currently covers Bristol, Bath and Edinburgh, as the second largest postal operator in the UK.

The other parts of Whistl; Packets and Parcels, Doordrop Media and Logistic Solutions, are unaffected by the move.

Whistl, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dutch delivery firm PostNL, was previously called TNT Post UK prior to a rebrand in September 2014. The business had been a subsidiary of TNT Group until 2011.

The company has UK depots located in Leeds, Warrington, Bristol, Iver, Rugby, Coatbridge and Newtonabbey while its head office is based in Marlow.

It began delivering in London in April 2012 and later rolled out its end-to-end service in Manchester and Liverpool.

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