Jeff meets Royal Mail about delivery failures

Lots of constituents have contacted me recently about problems with deliveries from Royal Mail. Many of us have been suffering erratic (at best..) delivery of letters and parcels in recent months. I’ve been taking up individual cases with Royal Mail, who’ve outlined that many of the problems were down to staff absence due to Covid. But the overall situation has become unacceptable and yesterday, along with a couple of my Manchester MP colleagues, I met representatives from Royal Mail to put our concerns directly and seek assurances that they’ll address the problem.

Royal Mail told us again that there have been many staff absences due to Covid, and that in recent weeks they’ve had to prioritise a big rise in the number of Covid test materials as a result of the increase in testing. Usually they try and deal with mail and parcels within the day but that hasn’t been happening in recent weeks. I made the point that constituents had been missing important letters about medical appointments, and waiting unacceptable times for documents.

We had a constructive discussion, and Royal Mail told us they’ve put actions in place to try and resolve the problems. They’ve recruited extra temporary staff at their sorting depots which serve the Didsbury, Burnage, Withington and Chorlton areas.

They’ve also said they’re rotating delivery “walks” where the usual postie is ill so the walks aren’t left without service. We’re told that staff absence rates are now coming down.

They also told us about the changes in their work; at the start of the pandemic they delivered twice as many letters as parcels. With the boom in home shopping, testing etc. that proportion has switched around the other way. For the future they’re planning to start new 7-day-a-week delivery routes for parcels from the Manchester South office, which – as long as they’re implemented properly – should improve the service.

Along with my team I’ll be keeping a close eye on the issue. Please continue to let me know if you’re experiencing problems. You can contact me at jeff.smith.mp@parliament.uk.

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