Royal Mail name change – more than just another ‘Consignia’ fiasco


CWU leaders send out detailed information explaining some of the thinking behind CEO Simon Thompson latest corporate changes, warning members that this is a far more serious move than the much-ridiculed 2001 rebranding disaster…

The July announcement made by Royal Mail that it would be changing the Group’s holding company name from Royal Mail plc to International Distributions Services plc (IDS) came into effect earlier this week.  Although in the short briefing that accompanied Tuesday’s communication, it was made clear that the use of the ‘Royal Mail’ name, logo, livery and style remains unchanged.

“Clearly, they’ve learned at least one lesson from 2001,” commented acting DGSP Andy Furey, “which is that the whole Royal Mail ‘brand’ is extremely valuable, trusted and one of our nation’s most iconic institutions.  But while it’s a relief that we’re not dumping 500 years of history, members should nevertheless be under no illusions as to the potential significance of this move – it’s more than just a marketing ploy.”

When the company first announced this new ‘IDS’, it coincided with the release of its first-quarter financial results and was explained by them at the time in the context of the differences between Royal Mail and its international arm GLS (General Logistics Systems).

“They said at the time they would consider full separation of GLS if they could not achieve the extent of change that they want within Royal Mail and that the move was intended to have a clearer ‘no cross-subsidy’ policy,” Andy pointed out, adding: “At that time, there were some sceptical responses from financial analysts.  There were suggestions the separation threat could be a management tactic – an attempt to seek leverage with this union in the context of our current dispute.  And questions were asked as to whether either company would benefit from separation.”

General Secretary Dave Ward commented: “We’re taking this development – the potential for it being a prelude to full separation – seriously.  It’s important, we feel, that our branches and members take a look at the background to the company’s decision this week and understand what could be at stake in terms of a future fracture of this company.

“Yes of course I remember the ‘Consignia’ jokes we all made back in the day, but this is more serious than that and we’re urging branches and members to take a look at this very useful summary document from our Research Department.  We will of course oppose any separation or indeed any moves to break up this company – and it’s important that we all understand and fully appreciate what’s at stake here.”

CWU Research Document:


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