Following almost a month of disruption of the mail service within Raunds and surrounding areas, causing significant delays in mail being delivered and mail appearing to be ‘stock piled’, we asked Royal Mails Director of External Relations for an official statement and an explanation.
The Royal Mail spokeswoman said: “ Royal Mail is extremely busy with the Christmas mail bag, which started before Black Friday. We have also been unfortunately hit locally by severe weather. All our people have been out delivering where it has been safe to do so and deliveries are now back to normal.”
“Our postmen and women in our mail centres and on delivery are working around the clock to deliver Christmas for all of our customers in all weathers. People concerned about deliveries can contact our customer service for further information on 03457 740740 or go to www.RoyalMail.com/serviceupdates.”
After following up the statement to try to find out the root cause; why the capacity for Black Friday wasn’t there and whether this was related to budget cuts or due to taking on extra Amazon Prime deliveries; this is the response received:
“It has been caused by high volumes and bad weather.
It has nothing to do with Amazon
There are no cuts to staff and we take on extra people at our busiest time of year. All our people are working around the clock to deliver Christmas in the UK.
We are sorry if deliveries have not been as expected but they are back on track now”
A source who wishes to remain anonymous gave us some insights on what they believe the real issues to be:
“The reason for the issues with mail is the recent ‘revision’ of rounds, Raunds specifically has lost one round which has been divided up between remaining rounds, it has made the rounds so big they can’t be achieved in the normal working hours we are paid for, initially people went over there time daily to keep on top of things, but obviously this is not something people can physically do long term.
This Christmas pressure starts around start of November and continues to build, on top of that the bad weather, making it dangerous to be walking round with heavy bags, and not able to use the trolley in the snow/ice means everything has fallen further and further behind.
The management are aware but can’t or haven’t done anything about it, I don’t honestly know why or if they can do something.
Everyone at wboro [Wellingborough] delivery office [is] on their knees, this is the worst Christmas I have ever known usually we all just keep going to get it done.
But the revision has made it virtually impossible to clear daily.
Usually the back log would get snapped up on overtime but nobody seems to want to do it this year, yes some staff have given up their only day off (Sunday) but as they are only paying time and a third that’s not had a great turn out either.”
“It’s madness, because even after Xmas pressure the rounds are too big, the revision came in two phases starting sept, and that’s when mail delivery started to get erratic”
“Who knows what they will do next. We take the brunt but we really are trying”
We put these comments back to Royal Mail who told us:
“Overtime is offered to all our staff and we continually review our resources at our busiest time. locally we have been hit by exceptional volumes of mail over several weeks as well as bad weather. Deliveries are now normal, despite the continued high volumes of mail. If customers have been affected by this then we apologise and we ensure them that we are committed to providing a great service.”
“Anyone who has a complaint internally should speak direct to their manager or union rep.”
Well apparently the service is back to resuming normally but is the issue really fixed? – our sources tell us that they are not but that a new strategy is being deployed by a different delivery office manager to focus on getting parcels out. Will it be enough to save the Christmas delivery?
If the service is back to normal then it must simply be a coincidence that another of our parcels sent from Amazon using Royal Mail wasn’t delivered but tracking showed it was out for delivery.
Please comment with your lost tracking numbers or get in touch with Royal Mail if you notice any further major disruptions.
Are you a Royal Mail employee? – let us know what is really going on anonymously via email to firstname.lastname@example.org