7,000 homes missing letter deliveries in Gloucester - whistleblower postman
A WHISTLEBLOWER postman claims up to 7,000 parcels and letters a day are failing to be delivered.
He said postmen and women at the Gloucester South delivery office are tasked with delivering to up to four addresses per minute and are now at breaking point.
They are bringing full mail bags back each day because they don't have the time to get their rounds done, he said.
"Morale is so low," he said. "We have a new way of working which isn't going well and they just seem to be all about cutting whatever they can to make Royal Mail look like a better proposition when it's sold off."
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And Royal Mail admitted it may now take longer to receive post.
He said posties unable to deliver their rounds are returning with "hundreds" of letters every day in the GL2 and GL3 postcode areas – he estimated about 7,000 homes did not get a delivery on at least one day last week.
He said the new way of working slows deliveries – on most rounds, posties head off in vans in pairs, then split up and do their rounds on foot with trollies.
Although they are better for posties' backs, trollies mean they can't take short cuts through gardens.
He said the number of parcels has rocketed due to internet shopping – posties must wait up to three minutes for a householder to answer the door for a parcel, and more time is taken up by filling out a slip if they're not in.
On top, they have to put leaflets through doors too.
When they return to the van at the end of the round, one postie has to wait for another, causing more delay.
"It doesn't sound like much but when you add up all the small delays the new system brings in, it has a snowball effect," said the postman who works at the Quedgeley delivery office.
"If someone calls in sick, then we will take on bits of their round, which can work alright at times, but not always – you end up not being able to do your own round fully, then coming back with say 100 letters from someone else's round.
"Quite a few have said they won't do overtime to get the letters out that day, because they haven't been paid for it the following week."
He said others take professional pride in coming in to work in all weathers and when ill because they believe customers deserve a decent service.
But he added: "Morale is unbelievable. Royal Mail have got a duty to cover the rounds. If you post a letter it's got to be delivered."
It was a picture recognised by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which is set to ballot for strike action later this month, partly over working conditions.
"It's not just the office in Quedgeley that has these sorts of problems," said Paul Trehearne, secretary of the Gloucester branch.
"It's happening across Gloucestershire and the rest of the country. More and more pressure is being put on delivery staff."
He welcomed the change from bags to trollies on health grounds but said that needed to be factored in to how many letters can be delivered.
"The new system is falling flat," he said. "We have suggested further revisions to make sure postmen and women have adequate time to do the good job they want to do.
"Almost all love what they do and want to provide a good service. But this pressure is a direct result of Royal Mail trying to make the books look good ahead of a sale.
"Postmen and women have had a guts full of it and that's one reason why industrial action is being balloted for."
Royal Mail spokeswomanVal Bodden said: "Royal Mail has recently made changes to our local delivery operations in Gloucester South for the delivery of GL2 and GL3 postcode mail, as part of our ongoing modernisation and transformation programme.
"These changes are essential to respond to changes in the postal market, as we are now delivering fewer letters but more parcels.
"Our changes help to safeguard the future of the service and place the company on a viable and sustainable footing.
"The time customers receive mail will depend on where they live on the delivery route. This may be later or possibly earlier than previous delivery times. The majority of people will get their mail by lunchtime.
"There have been a few teething problems as we bed in the changes and postmen and women adapt to new routes. We apologise if customers have seen an impact from our changes.
"However, Royal Mail is doing everything possible to maintain a high level of service that our customers expect and deserve."