Only the Royal Mail has the knowledge to make this work
My name is Scott Mann. I am 36 years old and I live with my wife and daughter in Wadebridge. I was recently selected as the Conservative candidate for North Cornwall – and I have been a postman for the last 18 years.
I started my work with the Royal Mail in 1995 after spending a brief period with an accountancy firm.
I spent two weeks sitting behind a desk and realised it wasn't the job for me.
I happened to mention I was interested in working for the Royal Mail and within weeks I had secured a part-time contract.
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I have done the walking rounds but I currently drive a van.
I work with some great people. We are almost like a family.
Many take up the role as a postman as a stop-gap, but they enjoy delivering to the public so much it becomes a career.
As the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Cornwall, a Conservative and a postman I have been asked numerous times in the last few months about my views on the privatisation of the Royal Mail.
Firstly, I am a firm believer in free markets, but the Royal Mail has been hamstrung over recent years.
We have to offer our comprehensive delivery network to other courier companies.
The process means the Post Office only receives a fraction of the overall price of the stamp, to deliver that final mile.
In a rural area like the South West this practice is run at a loss.
As a private firm we can get much of this lost income back because other companies won't be able to make delivering that extra mile cost effective.
Only the Royal Mail has the intelligence, gathered over decades, to make it work. Over the years we have a developed a unique knowledge of even the most rural and out of the way places.
Satellite navigation and mapping tools can only get a delivery driver so far.
I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked by another delivery firm, a building supply merchant or a holidaymaker where this particular road, lane or house is. Or where Mrs Brown lives.
It is the Royal Mail who gets little Johnny's birthday card through the door when gran's writing might not be as good as it used to be.
We work in a communications industry and knowledge is power.
The hardworking postmen and women across the county right now hold that knowledge and the key to the Royal Mail's success – and I don't think that any hardworking staff members should be frightened about the next few months.
However, there is one group that is scared about the future.
The Communication Workers Union is in the process of balloting for strike action.
I used to be a member of the union. Back when I joined the Royal Mail it was a closed shop. You had no choice but to be a member and make a contribution to the Labour Party.
In fact, when the second delivery service was removed, I decided to make a stand with my colleagues to try and protect that service for the public. I went on strike. Not because I wanted more pay but because the service was being reduced.
I was asked to go on strike five or six years ago when the last big industrial action was being proposed.
This was a strike about pay and I didn't agree with holding the company to ransom when we were not doing so well as a business. I decided not to strike, crossed the picket line and worked. I left the union a few weeks later and have not been a member since.
Right now the union is scared. For years it has had its own way, its own political agenda to push. It fears not being at the table and it fears change.
Having worked for this public business for years I have seen both good and bad postmen and women.
The business has tried to deal with inefficient staff, bullying and other poor practices but these individuals have hidden behind a trade union that protects them.
This should not happen. The trade union should be there for issues of injustice – not to push its political ideology.
If we are going to be a commercial success, which I believe we will be, we must be able to adapt to changing markets and deal with staff who cannot do the job.
And we must continue to deliver six days a week, even to the most rural areas.
All private sector businesses are streamlined. They reward staff for working hard, they recognise talent and deal with those who can't or won't.
There is a massive demand currently for Royal Mail shares. I will be receiving my free allocation as an employee soon.
I think people know how good this business I work for is. Where else can 60p get you from one end of the country to the other?
My post bag is full both in my political work and in my daily work. I hope to see you all on my rounds soon.